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Attorney General Jim Hood Takes on Google

By Jeffrey Hess | Published 19 Jun 2013 09:19am | comments

Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood is claiming one of the biggest Internet search providers could be violating state and federal law. The attorney general says Google is playing a role directing consumers to sites that are known to sell counterfeit or pirated goods.

 At a gather of Attorneys General in Boston, Hood says he plans to subpoena the company to show that it is not doing enough to stop the flow of counterfeit goods, illegal prescription drugs, and pirated entertainment like music and movies.

 For example, Hood says the auto-complete feature on the company's site will suggest words and phrase that facilitate illegal behavior.

 "Why would you suggest to someone to buy drugs online without a prescription when it may be somebody innocent. Someone who has come online to purchase drugs with a prescription," Hood said. 

 Hood also claims the company is allowing such sites to top the list of search result and advertise despite a history of the sites being linked to illegal activity.

 "I mean the legitimate sites like ITunes another others, they can't get to the top because of all these bogus sites that are in the search research. And Google has all of these notices. And they are well aware of the notices and they refuse to take them down because they will not work with other industries," Hood said.

 Google already voluntarily blocks some illegal material, such as child pornography or Nazi propaganda sites.

 The company did not respond to requests for comment but has previously claimed it blocks lots of sites that are clearly breaking the law.

 Tom Glavin with the Digital Citizens Alliance says allowing rouge sites to top the results can be hazardous, because drugs bought on line may not be what they claim to be.

 "And when we tested them, only two of those turned out to be real drugs. And when citizens go on line to purchase drugs without seeing a doctor or going to a real pharmacy, they are essentially by-passing all the safe guards that exist for your protection," Glavin said.

 Attorney General Jim Hood says that Google could be breaking state and federal consumer protection laws and is asking his fellow attorneys general to join his effort to stop the flow of illegal drugs and other goods on-line.

 

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