Ohio Attorney General David Yost sat down for an interview with Newsmax where he stated that he doesn’t want to see Google put out of business, but does want to see it turned into a public utility and brought under state regulations.
Yost has filed an anti-competition lawsuit against the company.
The attorney general stated that he’s hesitant to issue any sort of predictions about the outcome of the lawsuit or how it might affect the company, but made it clear he wants to see Google 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,” Yost stated. “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 went on to say. “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.”
“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,” he said.
Yost then added that when companies start censoring conservative voices, including a conservative president, they are then imposing their political views on business decisions and that’s not at all a good idea.
“They’ve got a set of values, which they’re allowed to have,” he went on to say. “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.”