Google and other Big Tech companies face challenges in every legal sphere, from the U.S. Congress and state legislatures to federal and state courts and authorities in foreign jurisdictions. Most critics of Google, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, and other tech giants focus on the companies’ market conduct and argue that their operations are anti-competitive and monopolistic. The Federal Trade Commission and state attorneys general have brought antitrust litigation against these powerful, internet-based companies. Legislators have held extensive hearings and—viewing present antitrust law inadequate to address the issues raised by these corporations—are seeking legislative changes targeted at Big Tech’s power.
While both the Biden Administration and Congress are focusing on antitrust-oriented approaches to counter Big Tech’s power, the Ohio Attorney General recently took a different approach in a lawsuit to combat Google’s alleged anticompetitive practices in its Ohio operations. In a case filed in state court, Attorney General l Dave Yost contends that Google’s operation of Google Search is a public utility and/or common carrier. The state asks the court to issue a declaratory judgement that Google Search is a common carrier and/or a public utility and to enjoin specific business and technical practices conflicting with this status.