Ohio sues Google, seeks to declare the internet company a public utility

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    • #429985
      Ohio Barbarian
      Moderator
      • Total Posts: 22,105

      (Columbus Dispatch) Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost has filed a lawsuit asking a court to declare Google a public utility that should be regulated as such.

      “Google uses its dominance of internet search to steer Ohioans to Google’s own products – that’s discriminatory and anti-competitive,” Yost said in a statement. “When you own the railroad or the electric company or the cellphone tower, you have to treat everyone the same and give everybody access.”

      The lawsuit, filed in Delaware County Common Pleas Court, is believed to be the first of its kind, Yost’s office said.

      Specifically, the lawsuit seeks a legal declaration that Google is a “common carrier,” like phone, gas and electric companies, which must provide its services to anyone willing to pay its fee. In lieu of a fee, Yost argues in the complaint, Google collects user data that is monetized primarily by selling targeted advertisements.

      Full story here

      It is better to vote for what you want and not get it than to vote for what you don't want and get it.--Eugene Debs

      You can jail a revolutionary, but you can't jail the revolution.--Fred Hampton

    • #429986
      Ohio Barbarian
      Moderator
      • Total Posts: 22,105

      Oh, yes we do!

      This is a potentially huge positive development. If the state can regulate how Google prioritizes its ads, it can also regulate how it prioritizes its information, ie its search algorithms.

      It is better to vote for what you want and not get it than to vote for what you don't want and get it.--Eugene Debs

      You can jail a revolutionary, but you can't jail the revolution.--Fred Hampton

      • #430017
        Jim Lane
        Participant
        • Total Posts: 909

        @ohiobarbarian

        The electric company and the gas company are natural monopolies.  It doesn’t make sense to have competition, which would mean duplicating expensive systems of delivery.

        Facebook is also a natural monopoly, although not for the traditional reason that competition would require expensive infrastructure.  If Facebook were broken up into multiple smaller companies, as has been proposed, millions of people would find themselves cut off from some of their friends.  Thus there would be a mass surge of people who’d been put into Facebook Alpha also joining Facebook Beta and Facebook Gamma.  Rather than people having to open three different sites every day to make sure they got all the latest postings from their friends (which I assume is what the Facebook devotees would do), the tendency would be for one of the new mini-Facebooks to end up with all the members, and we’re back to a monopoly.

        Where there’s a natural monopoly in a capitalist economy, the standard solutions are to have either a government takeover (as with firefighting) or heavy government regulation (as with electricity and gas companies).

        Google, by contrast, has competitors.  I personally use duckduckgo as my search engine and almost never use Google.  The Ohio AG’s concerns seem to be that Google is abusing its market power.  That can be better addressed through antitrust law than through trying to treat Google as a public utility.  Hey @ohiobarbarian — tell your AG to try to get Facebook declared a public utility.

        • #430074
          Ohio Barbarian
          Moderator
          • Total Posts: 22,105

          Yost had to start somewhere. The fact that the State of Ohio is starting somewhere is what has true significance for me. Google, Facebook, Amazon, no matter. If he can beat Google, he can beat Zuckerberg. Regardless, I think this is positive development.

          It’s important to note this action is in state court. Google will no doubt appeal, if it loses and it may well lose, to the Ohio Supreme Court. The OSC has something like 6 Republicans and 3 Democrats, but that really doesn’t tell you anything. The Republicans on the court have a long history of bucking corporate interests, especially when the corporate interest is a monopolistic one.

          It is better to vote for what you want and not get it than to vote for what you don't want and get it.--Eugene Debs

          You can jail a revolutionary, but you can't jail the revolution.--Fred Hampton

      • #430021
        ColorsoftheRainbow
        Participant
        • Total Posts: 678

        @OhioBarbarian,

         

        Just think—your home state, Ohio, has realigned from bellwether (having voted with the presidential-election winners of 1964–2016) to Republican (about +12.50 points redder than the nation in 2020) and this is something one would think Democrats and Democratic-aligned states should be doing.

        • #430072
          Ohio Barbarian
          Moderator
          • Total Posts: 22,105

          I don’t know. I do know that the Democrats nominated for a statewide office or the presidency have mostly been very neoliberal since before I moved here in 2005. They’re so righteous, arrogant, and condescending towards working class voters that they make Republicans like John Kasich and Mike DeWine look reasonable, and the election results bear that out.

          If a real leftist populist ran, I don’t know what would happen because I haven’t seen anything like that yet.

          It is better to vote for what you want and not get it than to vote for what you don't want and get it.--Eugene Debs

          You can jail a revolutionary, but you can't jail the revolution.--Fred Hampton

          • #430298
            Enthusiast
            Participant
            • Total Posts: 5,150

            Ohio Republicans are perfectly crazy enough to suit me, at least the ones in S.E. Ohio.

            I would like to remind you that U.S. health insurance companies do not contribute anything to health care. They are only a PARASITIC middle man receiving an undeserved cut of "FREE MONEY".

            Me

          • #448812
            Scott Crowder
            Participant
            • Total Posts: 647

            It’s those Confederate state Republicans that are the most batshit crazy.

    • #430105
      Hobbit709
      Participant
      • Total Posts: 2,714

      I don’t use Google in my browsers.

      I don't waste my time teaching pigs to sing.

    • #430189
      David the Gnome
      Participant
      • Total Posts: 3,317

      So they make it a public utility of some kind for the purposes of regulation – maybe -.  Look how well that worked out for us with other “public utilities”.

      Nope, don’t care.  Not unless they intend to actually make such utilities available to the general public, either free, or at a price people can afford.

      Millions of Americans can’t afford electricity, have no access to clean water, no healthcare.  Half a million have no home.

      Pathetically regulating Google?  Eh.  Don’t care.

    • #430534
      Paul H Mentzer
      Participant
      • Total Posts: 14

      A Common Carrier is a term in the Common Law for anyone that provides a service of transportation. A Common Carrier has a duty to protect its passengers and must provide service to anyone who can pay.  The classic common carrier was the stage coach, stage coach operators had to give a ride to anyone who could pay and the fee had to be the same for anyone  railroads and air lines are common carriers today.

      Do airline and Rail roads have competitors? Yes, but that does not mean they can treat different people differently.

      This rule was so strict that in the days of segregation, each state that wanted blacks seperate from whites had to pass special laws permitting such segregation in transport. The common carrier law forbade such discrimination and why each state had to pass laws requiring such discrimination to get around the whole concept of a Common Carrier.

      Now many common carrier are also Public Utilities, but being a public utility is a seperate concept. A public utility is a service that by its nature a monopoly and as such must provide its servive to anyone who can use the service.  An electrical provider is a classic Public Utility, it costs money to run electrical cables to homes and thus any home next to a electrical system that is a Public Utility has the right to hook up.

      A third concept is a Regulated Public Utility.  A Regulated Public Utility comes under some law that regulates that Public Utility.  Most electrical companies are such Regulated Public Utilities. Notice A Regulated Public Utility is a bit different from a public utility. You can have a non regulated public utility (Rural electric Co Ops are such unregulated Public Utilities for example). Please note most Taxi Service is a “Regulated Public Utility” even through taxis are NOT true public utilities but are Common Carriers (Taxis must be willing to pick up anyone in their service area as long as they fee is paid).

      My point here is the attack on Google is that it is a common carrier, like an airline, railroad, stage coach or taxi. Many such Common Carriers are regulated by Public Utility Commissions even through they are NOT real public utilities.  This has cause confusion when it comes to this lawsuit.  No one is saying Google is a public utility, but it is a Common Carrier and as such should be regulated as a Regulated Public Utility and if not still subject to the laws that requires Common Carriers to provide they service to anyone for the same fee.

      Common Carrier law, Public Utility Law and What is a Regulated Public Utility are three different concepts within the law and the attack on Google is that it is a Common Carrier that should be regulated like other Common Carriers by the state either through a state’s Public Utility Commission or by the courts to make sure it’s services are avalible to everyone at the same rate.

    • #430542
      Mr. Mickeys Mom
      Moderator
      • Total Posts: 6,647

      So, they sure seem like they need to be regulated as a Utility.

      I use Duck-Duck-Go for my search engine, but I still watch YouBoob videos and live chat.

      Hell, no... I'm not giving up...

    • #448976
      eridani
      Participant
      • Total Posts: 10,651

      A link to the legislation so i can recommend it to the WA State AG?

      Jesus: Hey, Dad? God: Yes, Son? Jesus: Western civilization followed me home. Can I keep it? God: Certainly not! And put it down this minute--you don't know where it's been! Tom Robbins in Another Roadside Attraction

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