Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood told CNBC on Monday, March 18, that he is developing his antitrust case against Google similar to the one brought against Microsoft in the 1990s.
According to CNBC, he also intends to address the privacy policies of Google parent company, Alphabet.
If it seems like everyone everywhere is pursuing Google and other tech giants, it’s because they are. Hood is just one of the state attorneys general going after tech companies, and the EU Commission has hit Google with three fines in three years totaling $9.4 billion, the latest coming just this week.
Hood said he would prefer that tech companies present a way to address privacy concerns but said he’s not waiting. He intends to sue, which everyone knows will be a lengthy process. The Department of Justice, with a group of states tagging along, sued Microsoft in 1998, but that was preceded by agency action at the FTC earlier in the decade. A final judgment was entered in 2002 with appeals brought by a group of unsatisfied states continuing through 2004.
Hood told MSNBC there will be a reckoning with Google at some point in the future.
Google emailed CNBC this statement: “Privacy and security are built into all of our products, and we will continue to engage constructively with state Attorneys General on policy issues.”
The possible AG lawsuits are a reaction to the tech giant’s highly concentrated personal data markets and the abuses facilitated by that concentration and market power.
It represents two convergences: antitrust and consumer protection law and antitrust and privacy law.
The federal antitrust agencies haven’t pursued a major monopolization case since Microsoft in the 1990s and the state AGs were part of that case. On the consumer protection side they had great success against Big Tobacco. We’ll see what they can do with Google and other Big Tech players.