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Trial Against Google Continues Amidst Concerns of Secrecy

 |  September 13, 2023

On Wednesday the landmark anti-monopoly trial against Google continued for a second day. Apple attorney Ryan Travers voiced a protest against two numbers mentioned in the Justice Department’s opening statement of the trial. US District Judge Amit Mehta will determine at the end of the trial if Google abused its monopoly power in its search and search advertising businesses and if any penalties are warranted.

At the beginning of the trial, the court rejected requests for the public to be able to listen remotely, eliciting criticism from activist groups. The opening statements were made accessible for the general public, but the rest of the trial is only accessible at the courthouse due to the discussion of trade secrets. Significant amounts of evidence have been sealed as trade secrets by the court in an effort to protect Google.

When the Justice Department mentioned two numbers in its opening statement, Apple attorney Ryan Travers stated “That would be a violation of the rules of engagement here.” Google attorney John Schmidtlein commented “The remark that was made would leave the public with the impression that that number either came from them or from us.” Kenneth Dintzer, of the Justice Department, admitted: “This one slipped out.” Judge Mehta addressed the complaint, saying that he would address it later.

Read more: US Prosecutors Accuse Google of Operating an Illegal Monopoly

The aim of the trial is to better understand the workings of Google and its potential abuse of monopoly power. Strict rules are in place to ensure confidential business information is not revealed. Senior counsel at the American Economic Liberties Project, Katherine Van Dyck, said “The public has a very real stake in this case, and neither Google nor the Court should be allowed to shroud it in secrecy.”

The trial is expected to restore transparency to the search engine giant’s omnipotent grip on the internet. The Justice Department will have four weeks to present its case and evidence, while the state attorneys general will have two weeks to make a supplementary case. Google will then have three weeks to present its defense. A judgment is not expected until next year.

The consequences of this landmark trial could be huge. It’s had an impact on how billions of people interact with the internet and has prompted calls for greater transparency as to how Google’s business practices impact our online lives. The final judgment could have far reaching implications for how monopoly abuse is policed. The verdict of this trial will set a precedent for how the tech giant operates and could establish major new regulations for other companies.

Source: Washington Post