Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost has filed a lawsuit trying to have Google declared a public utility.
Google is facing increased scrutiny on multiple fronts, with some critics saying the company should be categorized as a public utility. Such a move would subject Google to more regulation, much like a gas or electric company. Supporters of the move say the company’s monopoly in search justifies the classification and increased regulation.
Ohio AG Yost is one such critic, and is now suing to force a reclassification of Google.
“Google uses its dominance of internet search to steer Ohioans to Google’s own products–that’s discriminatory and anti-competitive,” Yost said. “When you own the railroad or the electric company or the cellphone tower, you have to treat everyone the same and give everybody access.”
The lawsuit does not seek any monetary damage. Instead, it has two main goals:
- A legal declaration that Google is a common carrier (or public utility) subject to proper government regulation.
- To force Google competitors equal rights to its own, and not prioritize its own products and services.
This is the second lawsuit Yost has filed against Google, the first being a lawsuit involving over 30 states, accusing the company of abusing its search monopoly.