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Patrick Lynch in the Providence Journal: "Google's practices warrant closer look"

Patrick Lynch, past president of the National Association of Attorneys General and former AG of Rhode Island, recently wrote an op-ed in the Providence Journal on Google’s business practices, which Lynch writes are “creepy” and show the company’s “disregard for consumers and our nation’s laws.”

Lynch outlined the recent cases and fines Google has faced, including a $500 million settlement for selling illegal pharmaceutical ads and recent reports that Google will face a record $22.5 million fine for breaching Safari users’  privacy settings. Google is currently facing investigation by six state attorneys general, the Federal Trade Commission, the European Commission and other enforcement agencies around the world.

Given Google’s dominance and past behavior, Lynch fears for the future of the online marketplace. The company’s “anticompetitive practices pose a threat to innovators on the Internet” because “Google’s dominance of online advertising lets it command higher prices for ads than would exist in a truly competitive marketplace.”  Without any real competition, Lynch says that Google has become “judge, jury and executioner when it comes to organizations’ ability to reach consumers on the Internet.”

He calls on the enforcement agencies currently investigating Google to “look at Google for what it is: an abusive monopoly with nefarious business practices undermining our existing laws and economy” and to “force Google to live up to its motto of ‘Do No Evil.’”

As Lynch notes, “what’s at stake is nothing less than the future health of the Internet, innovation and consumer choice online.”

Lynch is a consultant to FairSearch.org.