Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost wants the public to weigh in on whether internet search engines should be allowed to favor their own products and services in search results.
The request for comment seeks opinions about the practice of steering consumers to search results that boost profits for companies that own the platforms.
“Should Google, for example, be able to put its own products above everybody else’s products in the search results? We want to know if you think that kind of thing is unfair or deceptive, or if you’re OK with it,” Yost said.
Ohio law already prohibits “unfair or deceptive sales practices.” The Attorney General’s request for comment is designed to help decide if some online search functions fall under this existing law.
A list of 20 questions to consider and instructions for submitting comments are available on the Ohio Attorney General’s website at https://www.ohioattorneygeneral.gov/RFC1
The public’s feedback will inform the office as it considers whether to pursue new protections for search engine users. A proposed rule could seek to regulate internet search results that preference or display in a more prominent position products and services owned or operated by search providers.
Comments can be submitted electronically, preferably in PDF format, by emailing RFC1@ohioattorneygeneral.gov . Mailed comments should be addressed to Ann Yackshaw, 30 E. Broad Street, Floor 16, Columbus, OH 43215. The deadline for submissions is Aug. 30, 2020.