According to The Wall Street Journal (WSJ), people familiar with the matter have confirmed that the DOJ, in conjunction with various state attorneys general, is well into the planning stages of unleashing litigatory hell on Alphabet, which continues to engage in techno-fascism against online free speech.
The DOJ case against Alphabet could come as soon as this summer, the WSJ says, while a coalition of state attorneys general led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, a Republican, is planning to file its own case probably closer to the fall.
An investigation by the DOJ has confirmed that Alphabet owns the "dominant tool at every link in the complex chain between online publishers and advertisers," the WSJ says. Thus, the DOJ is focusing primarily on the company's online advertising business, as well as its advertising technology.
The DOJ is also looking into concerns that many have expressed about how Google is using its dominant search business to stifle competition, meaning it has become more difficult than ever to browse the web and pull up information without having to run queries through Google-owned platforms.
The biggest impediment currently is the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, which has stifled efforts to really get this process moving with the swiftness it deserves. Public health and reopening efforts have basically forced these probes to take somewhat of a back seat for the time being.
Even so, Attorney General William Barr has indicated that considerable resources are being devoted to holding Google accountable, and that his agency is still treating its inquiry as a top priority. The same goes for the individual states pursuing legal action against Google.
"We've issued [civil subpoenas] to Google and impacted third parties," stated Paxton. "We hope to have the investigation wrapped up by fall. If we determine that filing is merited we will go to court soon after that."
Paxton is in full agreement with the DOJ that such efforts seek only to increase competition for consumers, allowing them a greater range of options when it comes to how they use the internet. And by sharing information between themselves, Paxton, the DOJ, and the rest of the attorneys general hope to expedite the process.
Based on all that has been gathered thus far, the DOJ says that all signs point to there being a strong case against Google and Alphabet. Still, no final decisions have been made, and there is a possibility that all of this will be settled without any litigation.
What still remains unclear is whether individual states will file their own complaints or join the federal case once it gets filed. There is also the possibility that groups of states will file their own respective complaints, depending on which angle they decide to take.
While Texas has focused its investigation on Google's ad services, other states are looking more at Google's search function. Whatever the case may be, these lawsuits could lead to the undoing of Google as the global leader in search and advertising, which would certainly be a great thing for the average consumer.
The culmination of these efforts has been a long time coming, especially after the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which shares antitrust authority with the DOJ, opened and later closed an investigation into Google back in 2013. The evidence was apparently not strong enough back then, but is now.
To keep up with the latest news about the DOJ's lawsuit against Google and how the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is affecting this process, be sure to check out Pandemic.news.
Sources for this article include: