The United States announced on 23 July that it would commence an antitrust probe of major online platforms to discover whether they have “stifled” innovation or decreased competition.
US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has stated that Google’s work with the Chinese government does not raise any concerns. The statement comes after President Donald Trump last week asked his administration to investigate the issue.
Earlier this month, Google’s Vice President of Global Government Affairs and Public Policy Karan Bhatia denied allegations that the tech giant has ties to the Chinese authorities, stressing that the company has never consulted with Beijing about US government contracts.
The US Senate has previously raised concerns over the alleged cooperation due to Google’s controversial Project Dragonfly – a search engine that it reportedly developed for the Chinese market that has been criticised for complying with Beijing’s strict information legislation. According to Bhatia, however, the project was terminated in 2018.
The concerns about possible ties between China and Google come amid an ongoing trade war between Beijing and Washington. Both sides have imposed several rounds of heavy tariffs on each other, while the US has also accused Chinese tech giant Huawei of installing backdoors in its equipment that China’s government could use to steal commercial secrets.