Google Targeted Again For Illicit Drug Ads

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Remember back in 2011 when Google settled  with the U.S. Department of Justice on charges that it was knowingly selling advertising on its site to Canadian pharmacies that led to illegal importation of prescription drugs?

The Internet giant paid $500 million as a penalty.  Apparently the settlement didn’t have a tremendous impact on the way Google does business.

Now, according to a Bloomberg News report written by Chris Strohm and David McLaughlin, attorneys general from several states are probing whether it adequately screens illegal drug advertisements and illicit online videos.

The state AGs  raised the issue in a letter to Google at the end of last year and have since met several times with Google executives.  Apparently they aren’t happy with the results.

Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood, who just took over as president of the National Association of Attorneys General in June, told Bloomberg: “What they tell you in a meeting sounds good but then you can go online and check it out and it’s not true.”

Mississippi plans to issue a civil investigative demand — similar to a subpoena — for “documents and e-mails about how they screen or don’t screen videos and ads” and “how they place ads beside videos,”  Bloomberg quoted Hood as saying.

Google, as usual, claims it takes the issue seriously, but problems apparently still exist.  Besides Hood in Mississippi,  spokespeople for attorneys general in Hawaii, Florida, Colorado, Arkansas, New Mexico, Alaska and Oregon said they continue to probe online practices.

John M. Simpson
John M. Simpson
John M. Simpson is an American consumer rights advocate and former journalist. Since 2005, he has worked for Consumer Watchdog, a nonpartisan nonprofit public interest group, as the lead researcher on Inside Google, the group's effort to educate the public about Google's dominance over the internet and the need for greater online privacy.

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