On October 15, Judge P. Kevin Castel of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York ordered the release of a partially unsealed version of the State Attorneys General complaint against Google. The second amended complaint, filed by the state AGs in early September, included redacted parts related to Google’s advertising business, Google’s deal with Facebook, and certain names and email addresses. These redactions were done according to Google’s confidentiality designations. The court found that while some of the redactions were appropriate, many were not. In September, the Alliance joined an amicus brief by the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press urging the court to unseal the information contained in the complaint. According to the court, certain details about the engineering of Google’s “predictive modeling” process as well as the names and emails of individual employees were appropriately redacted. The unsealed complaint, released on October 22, included disconcerting details about Google’s anticompetitive conduct. In addition to charging more than twice as much as its rivals in ad deals, the complaint argues that Google engages in strategies to “lock in” publishers and help Google’s ad-buying services win more than 80 percent of auctions. The complaint also details Google’s alleged efforts to undermine publisher header bidding as well as the company’s deal with Facebook, codenamed “Jedi Blue.” The suit led by Texas focuses on Google’s anticompetitive behavior in the ad tech ecosystem. Read more about the revelations here and the case in general here.
Members of the News/Media Alliance staff have contributed to this post.