A prominent Mississippi government official has accused Google of reaping profits from illegal behavior by failing to remove questionable search results from its websites.
According to Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood, Google gives internet searchers easy access to illegal prescription drugs. Hood co-chairs the National Association of Attorneys General's (NAAG) Intellectual Property Committee.
"On every check we have made, Google’s search engine gave us easy access to illegal goods including websites [that] offer dangerous drugs without a prescription,” Hood said on Thursday. “This behavior means that Google is putting consumers at risk and facilitating wrongdoing, all while profiting handsomely from illegal behavior."
The allegations come on the heels of a federal task force working undercover to buy ads for steroids and human growth hormones on Google's U.S. search page back in 2011. The company paid $500 million to settle the case with the U.S. Justice Department.
Hood also said Google searches often reveal "counterfeit goods of every description, and infringing copies of movies, music, software and games."
This is not an issue that Hood or the NAAG is taking lightly, The Verge reported.
“We attorneys general are duty-bound to enforce our consumer protection laws and other civil and criminal statutes,” Hood said. “Google is aiding and abetting criminal activity and putting consumers at risk. This is of grave concern to the chief law enforcement officers of this nation.”
The company responded to the NAAG's allegations, stating: "We take the safety of our users very seriously and we’ve explained to Attorney General Hood how we enforce policies to combat rogue online pharmacies and counterfeit drugs. In the last two years, we’ve removed more than 3 million ads for illegal pharmacies, and we routinely remove videos that are flagged for violating YouTube’s guidelines regarding dangerous or illegal content. We continue to work on this issue with industry partners and groups like the Center for Safe Internet Pharmacies."