Google Accused By Government Officials Of Profiting From YouTube Content Promoting Painkiller Trafficking


Google is getting into the illegal painkiller business. Okay, not really, but two state attorneys are claiming that the web giant is actively profiting from YouTube videos that promote illegal activity. In a letter issued by Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning and Scott Pruitt, attorney general of Oklahoma, they write:

“… we were disappointed to learn that many such monetized videos posted to YouTube depict or even promote dangerous or illegal activities.”

The letter, which was issued July 2, 2013, goes on to explain several specific examples of what Bruning and Pruitt describe as an “alarming trend.” Among the examples, the state attorneys mention videos that promote the sale of oxycontin made by foreign “pharmacies.”

Google is also being accused of sharing profit from videos that, according to the letter, provide “how-to guides for creating forged driver licenses and passports that include sidebar advertisements for immigration lawyers.”

In the letter, the attorneys explain that during a panel titled “Intellectual Property Crimes Online: Dangerous Access to Prescription Drugs and Pirated Content” they learned of “Google’s business practice of ‘monetizing certain videos.’” It’s 2013 and these gentlemen are just figuring out that people run scam jobs on the internet. Armed with this knowledge and with their minds blown, they’ve decided to take down Google first.


What Bruning and Pruitt find most troubling, apparently, is the fact that Google also profits from this content due to shared ad revenue splits. However, Google in the past has been very clear about their policies regarding “rogue pharmacies.” Google writes in a blog post: “We disrupt their [rogue pharmacies] marketing efforts by making it difficult for rogue pharmacies to abuse our services and evade our filters.”

Unfortunately, Google and its subsidiary YouTube cannot be privy to every piece of blackmarket content uploaded. But, 100 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute isn’t enough to convince the attorney generals that Google might be a little busy. Jon Hood, attorney general of Mississippi warned that Google would be issued a subpoena due to its “lack of response.”

This all seems like a tremendously efficient way for state attorneys to spend their time analyzing the tech industry. It isn’t like the NSA is spying on the public via tech giants like AOL and Google or anything. You know, because if that was the case, the state attorneys would definitely be working on that.


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