Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost, who has filed an anti-competition lawsuit against tech giant Google, sat down for an interview on Newsmax on Wednesday where he stated that he doesn’t want to see the company go out of business, but does want them declared a public utility and then brought under state regulations.
Yost went on to state that he’s hesitant about predicting how the lawsuit is going to go or what kind of impact it could potentially have on Google as a company, but he said he wants them 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,” the attorney general said. “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,” Yost stated during the interview. “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.”
Yost then added that the exercise of that power is currently being debated in the United States.
“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,” the attorney general said.
According to Yost, when companies like Google begin to censor conservative voices, including that of the president, it’s an imposition of their political views on business decisions, which is never good.
“They’ve got a set of values, which they’re allowed to have,” he explained. “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.”