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Fifty states and localities are probing into Google’s practices in a large antitrust case; Benjamin Netanyahu vows to annex the West Bank if he wins reelection.
Breaking up Big Tech
- Attorneys general from 48 US states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico launched a massive bipartisan investigation into Google’s practices, saying the tech giant has grown so large that it threatens competition and the future growth of the internet. [Washington Post / Tony Romm]
- The antitrust probe, not yet a lawsuit, is led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton who expressed concerns Monday over the company’s digital advertising operations and search businesses, saying the involved states are hoping to find out how internet firms rake in billions in profits every year. [Politico / Steven Overly and Margaret Harding McGill]
- ”It’s going to be a very bad day for Google,” tweeted Sen. Josh Hawley, who served as Missouri’s attorney general in the past. Paxton clarified, though, that they’re only hoping to look into whether the company is employing fair, non-monopolistic practices, and that the probe could end with anything from a fine, to forcing the firm to break up, to virtually nothing. [Politico / Steven Overly and Margaret Harding McGill]
- California, where Silicon Valley is located, and Alabama are the only two states not participating in the investigation. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra declined to comment on the matter, despite him having one of the most “robust and aggressive” antitrust teams in the nation. [LA Times / Suhauna Hussain]
- The statewide searches are adding onto the antitrust scrutiny sparked on a federal and congressional level in America. Following Europe’s lead, the US Department of Justice took sweeping action into investigating Big Tech, saying it suppresses innovation and harms consumers. In Congress, Sen. Elizabeth Warren is one of the strongest critics of the tech giants, an issue she’s taken on in the presidential campaign trail, too. [AP / Marcy Gordon and Barbara Ortutay and NYT / Matt Stevens]
- What’s interesting, however, is that Warren and Sen. Bernie Sanders, two presidential hopefuls who wish to break up Big Tech, are among the top recipients of donations from Google employees. According to a Recode report, the firm’s employees also see breaking Google up as a means to force it to return to its startup roots and allow more competition from below. [Recode / Rani Molla and Shirin Ghaffary]
- Historically, the government has not quite been David to tech’s Goliath. A five-year trial that spanned into the early 2000s fizzled with a settlement between the Justice Department and Microsoft. [Wired / Antonio García Martínez]
The two-state solution is dead
- Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel promised to annex parts of the occupied West Bank if he wins reelection next week, citing support from the US in this effort. [Guardian / Oliver Holmes]
- His Tuesday announcement likely comes as a last-ditch effort to attract both right-wing voters and parties, whom he relies on to get elected and form a coalition, respectively. He also said the US is planning to present an Israel-Palestinian peace plan a few days after the Israeli election. [NBC News / Saphora Smith and Paul Goldman]
- Palestine immediately decried Netanyahu’s move, with its prime minister calling him the “chief destroyer of the peace process” and others going so far as to call the announcement as a “declaration of war.” [Jerusalem Post / Khaled Abu Toameh]
- Israel has occupied the West Bank since 1967, though it hosts seven times as many Palestinians as it does Israeli people. The international community largely considers the Israeli settlements illegal and a barrier to working toward a two-state solution. [BBC and PeaceNow]
- A man in Sweden was denied a vanity plate for his car that read “TRUMP” because the letter combination is offensive, authorities said. The man said he was “drunk and thought it was fun” at the time he applied for the new license plate. [AP]
- Branded as the “first game where women make more than men,” Ms. Monopoly is a twist on the classic board game, in which players get to invest in inventions created by women, like WiFi and chocolate chip cookies, rather than purchase property. [CNN / Leah Asmelash]
- At an upscale New York bakery, the Instagram-friendly Mille Crêpes cake — consisting of a 20-crepe stack and topped with caramelized sugar and cream — can cost up to $90. A delivery driver is accused of stealing cakes worth $90,000 and passing them along to unauthorized resellers who sold them at a discount. [NYT / Michael Gold]
- After a student passed out in the bathroom as a result of vaping, a high school in Alabama took drastic measures to try to prevent such a thing from happening again by removing some of the stall doors in the boys’ bathroom. [NBC News / Janelle Griffith]
“He’s like, okay, well, screw it.”
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Author: Stavros Agorakis