Google Antitrust Trial: Public Demand for Transparency


The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) has requested that the antitrust trial against Google be made public. Previously, Judge Amid Mehta had ruled that some of the proceedings should be held behind closed doors. One of the key issues raised by the DOJ is the need for the public to be informed about Google’s online advertising mechanisms. This issue is considered crucial and relevant to the public interest.

The government’s attorney, David Dahlquist, has pointed out that there are important documents being kept confidential regarding how Google sets advertising prices. According to him, there should be no hidden documents in this matter. He stated, “This concerns the public interest because the core of the DOJ’s case against Google revolves around online advertising.”

The DOJ aims to demonstrate that Google has violated antitrust laws in order to maintain its dominance as the largest search engine service with a 90% market share. This dominance has led to significant profits for Google, with estimated advertising revenue of $1 trillion, or approximately Rp 15,380 trillion, as reported by Reuters on Tuesday, September 19, 2023.

Google’s attorney, John Schmidtlein, had previously requested that all discussions regarding pricing and costs be conducted in closed sessions, meaning that journalists and the general public would be excluded from the courtroom during these discussions. It’s worth noting that concealing information about market share, business strategies, and pricing benchmarks is common due to its confidential nature.

However, the DOJ argues that Google cannot hide documents related to the broader public interest. The Google antitrust case is the largest in the technology industry since a similar case involving Microsoft over a decade ago when Microsoft was accused of monopolizing the Windows operating system.

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