The ongoing antitrust case against Google is surrounded by secrecy, with U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta facing significant scrutiny.
The antitrust trial against Google, orchestrated by the Justice Department, has garnered vast attention.
However, the heightened secrecy and restricted public access have raised eyebrows, putting Judge Amit Mehta in the spotlight.
The Wall Street Journal highlighted that this trial is among the most pivotal challenges to Big Tech's dominance since the Microsoft lawsuit over 20 years ago.
Yet, the prevailing secrecy has led many to question the trial's transparency and fairness.
Central to the case is Google's purported use of exclusive contracts with Apple and other phone makers to stifle rival search engines. Google, on its part, has strongly refuted these allegations.
They argue that their agreements don't limit consumer options and that they simply provide a superior search service, Breitbart reported.
Judge Mehta has faced considerable backlash for his frequent decisions to close the courtroom. This action is seen as being too accommodating to requests from Google and other stakeholders like Apple.
Advocacy groups are particularly concerned about the sporadic public access during pivotal testimonies, especially those involving senior Apple officials.
In light of the criticisms, Judge Mehta expressed his reliance on the plaintiffs, who he believes represent the public's interest. He trusts government attorneys to counteract the persistent efforts by tech giants like Google to hold sessions in private. He also mentioned his inability to foresee the content of upcoming testimonies.
The trial, which began on September 12, 2023, and doesn't involve a jury, has offered some insights into Google's rise as a dominant online entity.
The Justice Department contends that Google has retained this position through unlawful, restrictive contracts. However, the pervasive secrecy has left the public and media outlets in the dark about the 10-week trial's proceedings.
Interestingly, the public's primary source of information has been reporters stationed at the federal courthouse in Washington. Often, they find themselves outside a courtroom that's closed to the public.
This situation is especially ironic given that the defendant is an internet-based company.
David Dahlquist, a representative from the Justice Department, clarified the government's position on public access. He stated, "The United States has always been focused on open courtroom and public access."
He refuted Apple's claims that the Justice Department decided to close the courtroom on its own. Dahlquist underscored the government's dedication to transparency and public access.
However, he did admit that there were occasions when they didn't oppose closures proposed by Google and other third parties.