Google, together with its parent company Alphabet, recently filed a petition requesting the confidentiality of its business information with investigators. The company received a directive from Ken Paxton, the attorney general of Texas, to authorize sharing of its crucial business documents.
The company is expected to avail its sensitive company information to the external consultants conducting the ongoing multistate antitrust investigations. Google expressed concerns over the assurance of its documents in the hands of outsiders who are allegedly working for rivals and critics.
Specifically, the petition was drawn following the hiring of two consultants who have previously worked with the company’s competitors and complainants. For instance, Caffarra is depicted as the leading critic of Google, who has worked on several projects with rivals to bring down the company. Also, Burrus is accused of petition a case in 2017 against Google that led to the firm fined with $2.7 billion.
Google demands that acceptable ‘necessary limitations’ should be in place to safeguard confidential information from being misused, such as consultants ceasing to work for rivals. However, Paxton’s spokesman assured that the company information would be used purely for the probe and not for other reasons.
The antitrust concerns
In September, attorney generals from 48 states sanctioned an antitrust inquiry against Google over its suspicious corporate conduct and market power. High-tech and social media companies, including Google, Amazon, Apple, and Facebook, have come under scrutiny for antitrust concerns in the recent past. For instance, the companies have been accused of desire to dominate market shares, failure to protect users’ privacy, and spreading biased information against targeted individuals.
Recently, Facebook agreed to pay its fine to the UK data protection regulator for its role in the Cambridge Analytica scandal. The company decided to pay the fine to end the back and forth legal claims that have continued for years. The UK watchdog accused Facebook of failure to protect personal information and privacy of its users against third party companies. Google has been accused of trying to dominating the market shares.