Ohio's Attorney General had filed a lawsuit in June stating that Google Search should be regulated in the same way as other public utilities like water and electricity.
Google is now at loggerheads with Ohio’s Attorney General David Yost. The latter had filed a lawsuit in June stating that Google’s search engine should be regulated in the same way as other public utilities like water and electricity. Google has sought to dismiss the lawsuit instead, stating it as “absurd.”
Google, in its filing on August 13, said the lawsuit “has no more validity under the law than a request to declare Fox News, The New York Times, or Walmart a ‘public utility’ because most people in a particular town prefer to get their news or groceries from them instead of someone else.”
Yost in his lawsuit, filed in June, pointed out Google acted in an anti-competitive manner as the company would show its own products, like Google Flights, to the users. He argued that Google should also show rival products. The search engine giant on being named ‘anti-competitive’ said it is protected under the First Amendment as an editorial choice and the state cannot interfere.
Company officials countered the lawsuit saying, “the state cannot control what Google must or must not include on its results page. Google Search is not shipping a commodity but works to provide useful information in response to people’s unique queries.”
Google, while filing to dismiss the lawsuit, argued that Google Search cannot be classified as a “common carrier” under Ohio law and that it is the internet service providers who move the data. Also, algorithms and mechanics of how the search results are shown for an Ohioan’s computer have to be considered.
(Edited by : Shoma Bhattacharjee)
First Published: IST