The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) has complained about attempts by Google to remove the public from the courtroom during discussions of how Google prices online advertising. John Schmidtlein, who is representing Google, said that all discussion of pricing should be held in a closed session which would mean the public and reporters have to leave the courtroom.
Google is currently facing an antitrust probe from the US government which is trying to show that the search giant is using anticompetitive practices to maintain its dominance to maintain its position in search. Google says people use its products because of their superior quality.
The decision on whether to allow the public and reporters into particular hearings will be up to Judge Amit Mehta. It’s worth noting too that it’s not unusual for cases to move behind closed doors when it comes to sensitive pricing information.
Given the size of Google and how it plays an important role in most people’s lives, it could be argued that this case is different to other business cases that are held behind closed doors and deserves to be open to the public.
According to Reuters, David Dahlquist, who is speaking for the government, complained to the judge about a document which was redacted. The document was a short back and forth about how Google prices online ads.
Dahlquist argued that information such as this should not be redacted as it ‘satisfies public interest because it’s at the core of the DOJ case against Google.’
Google is a large company that operates different tools and services including Android, Chrome, Search, and YouTube.
If the judge in the case comes down on the side of the government it could potentially lead to the break up of various parts of the Google business or it could be made to present users with competitors’ products on platforms like Android rather than pre-installing Chrome or setting Google Search as the default search engine.