Fri. Mar 24th, 2023

Google and the U.S. Justice Department have reportedly failed to reach an agreement on a protective order against third parties including Microsoft that provided data for the government to sue the search and advertising giant.

Google said in a court filing on Friday that the company was pressuring two in-house lawyers to obtain the confidential data, but the Justice Department and state attorneys general involved in the lawsuit disagreed.

Google said it needed the information to prepare for its antitrust defense. Google said it will ensure that all confidential information will only be provided to two in-house lawyers in Google’s office of outside legal counsel, or that the data is provided in other secure ways. At the same time, Google added that it will report immediately if there is any situation that needs to be disclosed.

The U.S. government said in a separate filing that allowing Google lawyers to view “strategic plans and other commercially sensitive information related to rival voice assistants” is a dangerous choice because they could misuse the information to stifle potential competition opponent.

The government also said that in a major tech antitrust case involving Microsoft 20 years ago, highly classified documents were only available to the company’s outside lawyers.

Other companies at issue in the Google case include Oracle, AT&T Inc., Amazon, Comcast and others. They have until next Friday to advise on the terms of the protection order.

Judge Amit Mehta of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia is in charge of the Justice Department’s case against Google. Beginning in October last year, the U.S. government filed a lawsuit against Google, alleging the $1 trillion company illegally used its market power to crush rivals, a lawsuit that also weighed on the power and influence of big tech companies for decades. biggest challenge.

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