Ohio’s Attorney General filed a lawsuit against Google on Tuesday asking the state to officially declare the Big Tech company a public utility.
“Google uses its dominance of internet search to steer Ohioans to Google’s own products — that’s discriminatory and anti-competitive. When you own the railroad or the electric company or the cellphone tower, you have to treat everyone the same and give everybody access,” Republican Dave Yost said in a press release.
The declaration, if granted, will subject the Silicon Valley giant to “proper government regulation.”
“This suit does not seek redress for Google’s dominance of internet search. This suit does not argue that Google’s dominance of internet search is good or bad when viewed in isolation. Those issues are left to be resolved elsewhere. This case accepts Google’s dominance of internet search as a fact (be it good or bad),” the lawsuit explains. “Accepting this fact, the first claim is narrowly focused on establishing that Google’s provision of internet search is properly classified as a common carrier and/or public utility under Ohio common law.”
The lawsuit, which does not seek financial damages, also seeks to require Google to afford competitors equal access to prime advertisement placements, search engine priorities, and other special privileges currently used to promote Google’s own websites, goods, and services.
“Google’s mission statement is ‘to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful,’” the lawsuit continues. “What Google fails to disclose to its user is that it manipulates its presentation of that information to preference its own services, yielding search results that best benefit the interests of Google.”
Google previously faced scrutiny for its anticompetitive practices in December when a group of 38 states sued the company for allegedly violating the Sherman Act and engaging in monopoly behavior by manipulating the search engine and ad markets, something the company’s CEO previously admitted to.
“As the gateway to the internet, Google has systematically degraded the ability of other companies to access consumers,” the lawsuit stated.
Weeks before, Texas led nine other states in accusing Google of colluding with Facebook to create and maintain an illegal monopoly on digital advertisements in which the Big Tech companies rigged ad auctions. The U.S. Department of Justice under former President Donald Trump also filed a lawsuit against Google for similar antitrust violations in October following a year’s worth of investigation by prosecutors.