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Google asks court to dismiss Ohio lawsuit claiming tech company is public utility

Company argues it is “clear that Google Search is not a public utility” as state alleges.

Updated: August 14, 2021 - 11:24am

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Google has asked an Ohio court to dismiss the state attorney general's claim that the tech company constitutes a "public utility" open to added levels of regulation. 

Attorney General David Yost argued in the June filing that Google should be classified as a "common carrier," similar to a telephone company, and should thus be subject to stricter oversight measures than those normally applied to tech companies. 

In a response filed Friday, the company sharply disputed those claims.

”Google Search is not a common carrier of anything under Ohio law or otherwise,” Google said. The search feature “carries nothing. It responds to users’ queries itself with information and does not transport their queries anywhere.”

The company’s search feature “is not one that has ever been deemed the type of ‘essential service’ that Ohio or anyone else has regulated as a public utility,” the company said further.

Google also said that free speech laws in Ohio and under the U.S. Constitution “bar Ohio courts from regulating the manner in which Google Search responds to user queries.”

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