Texas Attorney General Greg Abbot filed a civil suit against Google in a Texas State court this week, as part of an ongoing antitrust probe.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Abbot claims Google has withheld 14,500 documents, while a Google spokesperson is quoted as saying:
“We have shared hundreds of thousands of documents with the Texas Attorney General, and we are happy to answer any questions that regulators have about our business.”
Former Rhode Island AG Patrick Lynch is now a consultant for the FairSearch Coalition, made up of Google competitors who have sought for their version of justice to be brought against Google since the company announced its intent to acquire ITA Software (which it eventually did).
FairSearch emailed us a statement today from Lynch, regarding the Texas suit. In it, he calls Google “an unaccountable black box that believes it above the law.”
Whenever we ask Google for comment on things of this nature, they tend to say something about how they “continue to work cooperatively” with regulators, as they did in response to the European Commission.
Here’s Lynch’s statement in full:
Patrick Lynch for FairSearch.org on Texas AG Abbott’s filing of a civil suit in Texas state court today to force Google to comply with formal requests for infomation. Lynch is past president of National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) and former AG of Rhode Island:
A representative for the FairSearch Coalition emailed us the following statement from Lynch:
Google has once again thumbed its nose at the Attorneys General and law enforcement agencies around the world who are seeking information to shed light on serious and credible allegations that Google is illegally abusing its monopoly power in ways that deprive consumers of choice, harm innovators, and raises the cost for all organizations who use the Internet to reach new customers.
Texas and other governments investigating Google are now experiencing what millions of businesses and other organizations face every day with Google: an unaccountable black box that believes it above the law.
If Google has nothing to hide, co-founder and CEO Larry Page will instruct his company to comply with formal requests for information about its business practices. Those policies are now under review by Attorneys General in Texas and five other states, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and EuropeanCommission, and other jurisdictions internationally.
Unfortunately, Google’s inaction in Texas mirrors its delay and obstruction of the FCC’s investigation of the Google Street View mapping project, its non-compliance with a civil subpoena from U.S. Senator Blumenthal when he was the Connecticut AG, the Korean competition authorities who sought information from the company, and many other governments and law enforcement agencies.
‘Trust us’ never has been a valid answer to legal requests for information. It’s past time for Google to cooperate with investigations around the world. If the company is not willing to play ball, attorneys general and others will have to force Google to change its practices.