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Justice Department accuses Google of destroying evidence in antitrust lawsuit

Google and its antitrust issues and lawsuits is a tale as old as time. The company has been involved in various antitrust cases in numerous countries across the globe, most notably in the European Union and India. Now, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has accused the firm of destroying evidence in an ongoing antitrust lawsuit.

A scene from The Simpsons where Mr Burns is shredding paper but the paper has a Google logo on it an

According to the Wall Street Journal, the DOJ has alleged that in the past, Google employees have regularly conducted "substantive and sensitive business" in an instant-messaging app that deletes messages within 24 hours. In fact, the authority claims that Google actually trained employees to use off-the-record chat mechanisms.

This is a significant allegation considering that federal laws prohibited Google from deleting chats in mid-2019 when the associated antitrust lawsuit was anticipated to begin. However, the company continued the use of off-the-record systems to conduct its business, claims the DOJ.

Google has strongly denied these claims, saying that:

Our teams have conscientiously worked for years to respond to inquiries and litigation. In fact, we have produced over 4 million documents in this case alone, and millions more to regulators around the world.

The latest accusation from the DOJ is part of an ongoing antitrust lawsuit which seeks to prove that Google unfairly dominated the web search market. The government body says that Google has effectively destroyed evidence for this case by auto-deleting its business conversations.

The DOJ claims that Google only agreed to suspend its auto-deletion activities after it was told that a motion to sanction it is going to be filed. U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta is yet to issue a statement on the motion but we'll keep you updated if there are significant developments in the case.

Source: WSJ (paywall)

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