Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost, who has filed an anti-competition lawsuit against Google, said on Newsmax Wednesday that he doesn't want to put the tech giant out of business but he does want it to be declared as a public utility and brought under state regulations.
Yost said he is hesitant about making predictions about the outcome of the lawsuit or how it will affect the technology business, but he does want Google to comply with "certain legal duties."
"Once we get this, the court to declare them as a public utility, then they will have a duty to provide equal access to act in the public interest," said Yost, a Republican. "They say that their slogan is to do the right thing. Well, Ohio law tells you when you're a public utility what the right thing is to do, and so we're hoping that this is not going to bring the heavy hand of government down, but to recognize that they've got gotten so big that they've got a legal duty to all the rest of us that they have to live up to."
The complaint is the first such lawsuit against Google by a state. It alleges the company has used its dominance as a search engine to favor its own products over “organic search results" in a way that “intentionally disadvantages competitors.”
Yost also commented Wednesday on various other lawsuits that have been brought against other companies like Facebook and said he thinks it is a "significant challenge" to deal with corporations that insist on regulating free speech.
"These are like the robber barons in the Industrial age that gained a huge amount of power and were able to have the size and scope of a government," said Yost. "Some of these tech giants have gotten so large that they can do what the government could not do, which is to control what you're allowed to say and hear and know about."
The exercise of that power is under debate in the United States, Yost added.
"I think it's time to recognize that when a company becomes as powerful as a government, it's time to be asking some serious questions about our freedom," said Yost.
Such companies, by censoring conservative voices including former President Donald Trump, impose their political views on business decisions, and that is not a good idea, Yost added
"They've got a set of values, which they're allowed to have," he said. "This is America. They're allowed to be liberal or progressive or whatever they want. The challenge comes when they use their power to affect the rest of us."
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