Written by Hannah G. Babinski, Class of 2024
To no one’s surprise, Big Tech is in trouble yet again for attempting to overstep the boundaries of consumer privacy. From the notorious Facebook controversy involving Cambridge Analytica in 2018 to the most recent ballad of chronic misinformation stemming from Spotify’s perpetuation of Joe Rogan’s podcast, it seems that Big Tech’s complacency or even compliance with problematic practices connected to its online presence consistently leaves many Americans scratching their heads. Google is the latest tech conglomerate to stumble in the public arena.
This is not a historic moment for the California-based tech giant whose business model is heavily dependent on its prolific digital advertising, collection, surveillance, and auction of user data, including location tracking which alone earned the company an estimated $150 billion dollars in 2020. In October 2020, the U.S. Justice Department and eleven states sued Google in federal court, alleging that Google abused its dominance over the search engine market—comprising 90% of web searches globally—and online advertising. Then, in December of 2020, ten states separately sued Google in federal court on the grounds of alleged anti-competitive conduct. Undoubtedly, Google’s utter electronic control over the online market is equally as impressive as it is troubling—a sentiment resounded by the bombardment of state-instigated suits—but it pales in comparison to the basis of the most recent lawsuit.