Google files a demand for document production against one of its most vocal public opponents

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Image Courtesy: The Verge

As part of its continuing federal antitrust action, US vs. Google, Google asked for a court order late Monday night requiring longtime Google critic Luther Lowe to submit documents.

The move stems from a stalemate in discussions between Google and Lowe’s employer, Yelp. Yelp has consented to produce records from a number of its workers, but has refused to produce documents from Lowe in particular, forcing Google to seek a subpoena that would compel the release of email archives and other documents from the court.

The brief states that “Yelp’s claims against Google, developed and promoted by Mr. Lowe, are a significant component of the government’s case.” “Now that the same government action Yelp pushed for in its emails has begun, Yelp cannot refuse Google the papers it requires to defend itself.” The 51-page document, like many others in the antitrust lawsuit, is heavily redacted.

Lowe, Yelp’s vice president of public policy, has long been a vocal advocate for antitrust action against Google, even establishing an email weekly called “This Week In Google Antitrust” to track support for action against the search giant. In public remarks, Lowe has emphasised Google’s search neutrality issue, saying that the corporation utilises the strength of Google Search to co-opt and overpower subject-matter directories such as Yelp.

This is not the first time Google has used antitrust actions to compel rivals to produce documents. After sharing hundreds of thousands of records with prosecutors ahead of the case’s filing, the business pressed for significant additional document production from Microsoft in July.

Google and Lowe did not reply to requests for comment on the filing.