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  • Another four U.S. states have joined a lawsuit filed by Texas against Google, which accuses the tech giant of breaking antitrust laws to boost its advertising business
  • Alaska, Florida, Montana, Nevada and U.S. territory Puerto Rico have weighed in, bringing the total number of plaintiffs to 15 states and territories
  • The lawsuit accuses Google of violating the law in how it dominates the steps in the process of placing advertisements online
  • The revised complaint added that Facebook and Google “work together to identify users using Apple products”
  • Google is challenging the allegations, and a hearing scheduled for Thursday is anticipated to include a discussion of the company’s petition for a Texas federal court to move the case to California

Another four U.S. states have joined a lawsuit filed by Texas against Google, which accuses the tech giant of breaking antitrust laws to boost its dominant advertising business.

Alaska, Florida, Montana, Nevada and U.S. territory Puerto Rico have weighed in, according to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, bringing the total number of plaintiffs to 15 states and territories.

The lawsuit is one of three to be filed in December by the federal government or individual states.

“Our coalition looks forward to holding Google accountable for its illegal conduct and reforming Google’s practices in the future,” Paxton said in a statement yesterday.

“We are confident Google will be forced to pay for its misconduct through significant financial penalties.”

Google is challenging the allegations, and a hearing scheduled for Thursday is anticipated to include a discussion of the company’s petition for a Texas federal court to move the case to California.

The lawsuit accuses Google of violating the law in how it dominates the steps in the process of placing advertisements online. It also alleges that it quietly collaborated with its closest competitor, Facebook, and that it uses the excuse of protecting users’ privacy to act unfairly.

The revised complaint added that Facebook and Google “work together to identify users using Apple products.”

In recent years, Apple has — on both its Safari browser and iPhones — increased ways to block what it says is privacy-intrusive user tracking by ad tech companies, some of which have tried to devise circumvention measures.

From 2015, Google was able to view messages from facebook’s WhatsApp service that users backed up to Google’s Drive cloud storage system.

Google knew that users were unaware of this access, but “did nothing to correct this misunderstanding,” the lawsuit said.

The lawsuit also added that Google Drive gained almost 250 million new users by June 2016 because of the WhatsApp partnership.

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