Google stonewalling AGs over emails in antitrust probe

Google is refusing to hand over employees’ emails and text messages to state authorities investigating the tech giant’s potential anti-competitive practices, a new report says.

Investigators for a group of state attorneys general have asked for emails and other records from Google honchos, as well as text and instant messages from other staffers who could have relevant information, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday.

But Google has pushed back against the efforts to get the documents and expressed concerns that sensitive information could land in the hands of competitors with links to consultants involved in the probe, according to the paper.

Google also has not given the AGs permission to access records the US Department of Justice has gotten related to its own antitrust probe of the company, the Journal reported. The feds and the attorneys general have reportedly started meeting about their respective probes, which focus on Google’s dominance in the online advertising market and other matters.

Texas AG Ken Paxton, who’s leading the state investigation, told the Journal that Google’s efforts to keep documents under wraps suggest that they may contain damning information.

“Every indication right now is they don’t believe that they’re clean because they don’t act in any way like they are,” Paxton told the paper.

Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday morning. But the company told the WSJ it has cooperated with the state investigation and already provided more than 100,000 pages of requested information.

“We’re also concerned with the irregular way this investigation is proceeding, including unusual arrangements with advisers who work with our competitors and vocal complainants,” a Google spokeswoman told the paper.

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