Some states are stepping up to the plate in regards to appropriately regulating tech. Recently, Mississippi’s attorney general, Jim Hood, said the state is preparing an antitrust case against Google, as reported by CNBC.
“At some point in the future, there will be a reckoning,” Hood said, according to CNBC. “It’ll either be in Congress or in a court of law.”
Hood said the case will tackle the privacy practices of Alphabet — Google’s owner — and it’ll be similar to a federal case brought against Microsoft in the late 1990s.
In that case, the federal government reviewed antitrust charges against Microsoft. Eventually, the company was charged with acting as a monopoly and limiting competitions on PCs. At the time, they were forcing manufacturers to bundle Internet Explorer on their hardware products before receiving a license for the Windows 98 operating system.
Obviously, Microsoft wasn’t forced to split up because they’re still around today. However, the settlement definitely shook the company, and its stock growth was hindered for about 15 years, CNBC reported.
Concerns with Google primarily center around its use of data. This is a concern that Mississippi has had for some time. In 2017, Hood sued Google claiming it tracked, recorded, and mined students’ data in public schools to build profiles on them, and the case is still pending.
In 2018, Hood met with U.S. attorney general Jeff Sessions to discuss the case with Google and other big tech companies.
According to the Clarion-Ledger, Google said its user information is extracted before any data is used, and it’s not connected to a specific person or used to analyze students’ behavior.
Still, CNBC reported Hood accused Google of controlling a “pipeline” of data and went on to add, “At some point if we don’t have successful legislation, at some point some court is going to rule to the effect that a person’s private information is the equivalent of their intellectual property and that companies have to pay people for it.”
Indeed, many states have been making moves when it comes to trying to regulate big tech, something the federal government consistently struggles with. Florida lawmakers recently passed the Florida Biometric Information Privacy Act to crack down on companies’ collection of biometric data. In Washington state, the Senate passed a bill focused on consumer protection.
Both California’s Consumer Protection Act and the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation continue to serve as inspiration for states looking to protect people’s data.
If states manage to ban together against predatory big tech practices, then maybe it’s possible real consequences will take place.