Google to settle with U.S. Government for $500 million

Regulators in the United States are expected to announce a $500 million settlement over the charges that Google profited from advertisements for illegal online pharmacies, according to TechCrunch. The advertisements prompted an investigation by the Department of Justice in May. According to The New York Times, this decreased Google's profits by 22 percent.

In the fall of 2010, Google noted that it had problems:

…As we and others build new safeguards and guidelines, rogue online pharmacies always try new tactics to get around those protections and illegally sell drugs on the web. In recent years, we have noticed a marked increase in the number of rogue pharmacies, as well an increasing sophistication in their methods. This has meant that despite our best efforts—from extensive verification procedures, to automated keyword blocking, to changing our ads policies—a small percentage of pharma ads from these rogue companies is still appearing on Google.

Despite Google's complaints that they were trying their best to curb illegal ads from rogue pharmacies, regulators proceeded with the case. In the United States, all websites are now held liable for illegal ads on their pages. There are other malicious entities who wish to leverage Google's services to their advantage as well. Google has filed lawsuits in the past against these entities, and the lawsuits seem to have no effect whatsoever. U.S. Attorney Peter Neronha of Rhode Island is holding the press conference today to announce the final outcome. The settlement means that Google will no longer be prosecuted for profiting from illegal ads posted by the "rogue" pharmacies.

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13 Comments

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KingCrimson said,
So much for Google's mantra of "do no evil". They might be the most evil corporation ever!

...the hell are you talking about?

NeoDecay said,

Explain.

The settlement means that Google will no longer be prosecuted for profiting from illegal ads posted by the "rogue" pharmacies.

In other words, they bribed their way to freedom to make money out of illegal ads.

Google has FULL control over what ads they show and don't show. They can easily disapprove of an ad when they are sent to them for publishing. They just choose to be lazy, and now they get to show illegal ads, thereby taking out Google's accountability in the matter and giving them a free pass to show whatever the heck they want.

It's a fine line between being evil and just being naive, and I'd be inclined to say that Google in this case was the latter. They seem to take a policy of "customer is innocent until proven guilty", which unfortunately in this case has landed them in hot water.

They haven't bribed anyone, they're just paying their do's for being dumb enough to print adverts for illegal pharmacies because they haven't been told that it was naughty.

Discriminating against a business because it's against your moral code is evil (since others may disagree), not discrimating enough against an illegal business is just naive (and costly).

Wow. I hadn't even heard of this case. I'm not a fan of google, but it's a shame that the true crooks couldn't be held responsible for what they are doing. As usual, the criminals get away...

Hardcore Til I Die said,

Someone can't count $14 trillion - $500 million = $13.9995 trillion


Can someone can't round. $13.9995 trillion ~ $13.9 trillion

Hardcore Til I Die said,

Someone can't count $14 trillion - $500 million = $13.9995 trillion

Now seize Apple's $70 billion cash hoard and we're making progress!

FMH said,

Can someone can't round. $13.9995 trillion ~ $13.9 trillion
Really? From what it looks like, if you round 13.9995, you get 14.