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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