Three members of the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on Wednesday expressed regret over the unintentional release of part of an agency’s investigative report related to search giant Google Inc.
The search and advertising company is currently facing antitrust probe from the European authorities.
The released document, which was at the center of The Wall Street Journal report, suggested that the key FTC staff members were supporting the plan to sue Google for its alleged role in breaking the anti-trust law. The federal agency had settled with Google in early 2013.
The FTC commissioners– Chairwoman Edith Ramirez, Maureen Ohlhausen and Julie Brill– defended the final outcome in a joint statement.
“Contrary to recent press reports, the commission’s decision on the search allegations was in accord with the recommendations of the FTC’s Bureau of Competition, Bureau of Economics, and Office of General Counsel,” the commissioners said in a joint statement.
The agency said that it was disappointed with the release of confidential documents, which should not have been included in a response to a request filed under the Freedom of Information Act.
“We are taking additional steps to ensure that such a disclosure does not occur in the future,” the commissioners said in the statement.
The release of the document came at a time when the European anti-trust regulators finalized their next steps in carrying a four-year investigation of Google.
Google turned down the request to comment on the commissioners’ statement.