Yesterday, the US Justice Department issued a strong objection to removing the public from the court during discussions of how Google prices online advertising in the antitrust trial.
According to Reuters, the government is working hard to show that Google broke antitrust law to maintain its search engine dominance, seeking that certain information about Google’s pricing for search advertising should not be redacted. When discussing how to resolve the case, David Dahlquist, a representative for the government, argued: “This satisfies public interest because it’s at the core of the DOJ case against Google.”
Though not in agreement with the government’s position, John Schmidtlein, a representative for Google, argued that some discussions of pricing should be to take place in a closed session, excluding the public and reporters.
Katherine Van Dyck, a senior legal counsel for the American Economic Liberties Project, said: “When you have these cases with massive, broad public interest and public import, the courts need to do a better job of taking that into account, change their rules and keep up with modern technology.”
This antitrust fight could change the future of the internet, which is currently being scrutinized by four major giants by Congress and antitrust enforcers. Evidence of otherwise illegal actions by Google to build up a monopoly have been presented through a Verizon executive, Brian Higgins, who testified about the company’s decision to pre-install Google’s Chrome browser with Google search on its mobile phones. However, Google’s defense is that its high market share has been upholding by the quality of its products.
If Google is found to have broken the law, Judge Amit Mehta will consider how best to resolve the case, which may include ordering Google to cease illegal practices or selling out assets. The lawsuit raised is deemed highly important to the public and carries immense consequences that could have an enormous implication on the future of the internet.