DOJ claims Google deleted chat logs as antitrust case comes to a close

The Department of Justice has alleged that Google implemented a policy that encouraged employees to delete chat logs and other discussions around certain business practices during its investigation, according to Tech Spot.

The business practices in question have to do with revenue-sharing agreements and mobile application distribution deals.

Government lawyers noted that these internal conversations could have revealed Google’s attempt to illegally leave out rivals and maintain its dominion as the top company in the search market.

According to Mint, antitrust enforcers have suggested that Google has kept a monopoly over online search and related advertising.

Obama-appointed Judge Amit Mehta did not hold back when addressing Google’s legal team, suggesting that he was taken aback by the major tech company’s deliberate effort to destroy records. “Google’s document retention policy leaves a lot to be desired,” he said on Friday.

Google’s attorney Colette Connor told the judge that DOJ should have known about Google’s policy well before the government agency challenged the company’s conduct.

Connor also noted that Google’s conduct could not be sanctioned because there is no evidence that any of the missing chat logs would have shed new light on the case.

The question still remains as to why Google employees allegedly deleted chat logs while under investigation.

In January 2023, the DOJ released a statement, saying:

Filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, the complaint alleges that Google monopolizes key digital advertising technologies, collectively referred to as the “ad tech stack,” that website publishers depend on to sell ads and that advertisers rely on to buy ads and reach potential customers. Website publishers use ad tech tools to generate advertising revenue that supports the creation and maintenance of a vibrant open web, providing the public with unprecedented access to ideas, artistic expression, information, goods, and services. Through this monopolization lawsuit, the Justice Department and state Attorneys General seek to restore competition in these important markets and obtain equitable and monetary relief on behalf of the American public.

At the time, Attorney General Merrick Garland said: “Today’s complaint alleges that Google has used anticompetitive, exclusionary, and unlawful conduct to eliminate or severely diminish any threat to its dominance over digital advertising technologies.”

“No matter the industry and no matter the company, the Justice Department will vigorously enforce our antitrust laws to protect consumers, safeguard competition, and ensure economic fairness and opportunity for all.”

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