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AG Balderas to investigate Google ad practices

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SANTA FE – Attorney General Hector Balderas announced Sept. 9, that he, along with 49 other Attorneys General, is investigating Google’s overarching control of online advertising markets and search traffic that may have led to anticompetitive behavior that harms consumers and creates a barrier to access to free digital markets.

“As more and more of our lives are lived online, it is absolutely critical that our regulation of these online tech giants keep up,” Balderas said. “When the federal government is slow to act or, in some cases, doesn’t act at all, I will continue to step in and aggressively protect consumers, privacy and the free market.”

This is not the first time Balderas has set his sights on the internet giant. In the fall of 2018, Attorney General Balderas sued Google and a number of other companies for violating children’s privacy and consumer protection laws. That lawsuit, filed in the Federal District Court in New Mexico, alleged Google knowingly collected data from children under the age of 13 and falsely represented that its “For Families” section of the Google play store was a safe place for parents to find games and apps for their children. Both this investigation and Balderas’ previous lawsuit against Google, involve enforcement of state and federal laws. The privacy lawsuit is currently awaiting rulings on defendants’ motions to dismiss.

Balderas urges consumers and all users of the internet to take steps to protect themselves:  “Whenever you are online, be sure to pay attention to who is gathering your data and what they are doing with it. When you are using a mobile device, make sure you check your privacy settings to ensure you and your family know where your data is going.” The Attorney General recommends reading through the privacy policies of your favorite websites and apps. He also recommends regularly checking the privacy settings on your phones, tablets and computers to ensure you know what information your device is sharing.