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US Accuses Google of Demanding Excessive Secrecy in Antitrust Trial

Updated: Jan 9

The U.S. Justice Department has raised objections to Google's request to keep certain information secret during the ongoing antitrust trial.

Credits: REUTERS

The government is arguing that Google violated antitrust laws to maintain its dominance in online search, which led to significant advertising revenues and made the company worth $1 trillion. The issue at hand revolves around Google's pricing for online advertising.

During the trial, David Dahlquist, speaking on behalf of the government, argued that certain information, such as Google's pricing for search advertising, should not be redacted. He stated that this information is crucial to the Department of Justice's case against Google and should be made public.

On the other hand, John Schmidtlein, representing Google, urged that discussions about pricing be held in closed sessions, excluding the public and reporters from the courtroom. It is common for market share and pricing strategies to be redacted in merger trials, as companies often prefer to keep this information hidden.

Katherine Van Dyck, a senior legal counsel at the American Economic Liberties Project, explained that companies typically prioritise winning the case over concerns about over-sealing information. She believes that the courts should adapt to modern technology and take into account the broad public interest in cases like this.

During the trial, a Verizon executive, Brian Higgins, testified about the company's decision to pre-install Google's Chrome browser and search engine on its mobile phones. However, much of his testimony was closed to the public, leaving unanswered questions about Google's payments to Verizon and their impact on the company's dominance in the mobile market.

Google's defense throughout the trial is that its high market share is a result of the quality of its product, rather than any illegal actions to create monopolies. The outcome of this antitrust fight could have significant implications for the future of the internet, as it involves four major tech giants that have faced scrutiny from Congress and antitrust enforcers.

If Google is found to have violated the law, Judge Amit Mehta, who is presiding over the case, will determine the appropriate resolution. This could involve ordering Google to cease illegal practices or even divest certain assets.

  • The U.S. Justice Department objects to Google's request to keep certain information secret during the antitrust trial.

  • The government argues that Google violated antitrust laws to maintain its dominance in online search.

  • Discussions revolve around Google's pricing for online advertising.


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