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AG to Google: Clean up YouTube

By   /   July 2, 2013  /   14 Comments

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CLEAN IT UP: Nebraska and Oklahoma’s attorneys general are going after Google for content it profits from, such as how-to videos on fake passports.

By Deena Winter | Nebraska Watchdog

Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning is calling on Google to stop posting and profiting from content on its subsidiary, YouTube, depicting dangerous or illegal activities.

Bruning and Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt have written a letter to Google calling on the company to stop allowing its subsidiary, YouTube, to post videos that show people how to do things such as build a bomb, buy drugs without a prescription, get an underage prostitute, make a fake ID or passport or buy counterfeit merchandise. Google profits from ads sold alongside such videos.

Bruning told KLIN’s “Drive Time Lincoln” on Tuesday that the attorneys general have been monitoring this situation for awhile and may “act in concert” with legal action if Google doesn’t respond.

“But at this point they’ve been extremely arrogant in dealing with the attorneys general,” Bruning said.

The issue was discussed in Boston last week at the summer meeting of the National Association of Attorneys General. At a presentation led by Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood regarding online crime, attorneys general from across the country were shown screen shots from YouTube videos running in conjunction with Google Ads. The YouTube video screen shots captured images related to purchasing potentially dangerous drugs such as Oxycontin and Percocet without a prescription, downloading pirated content and sex club promotions.

Representatives from Google refused an invitation to attend the NAAG meeting.

Bruning accused Google of having a “lackadaisical attitude toward Internet safety and consumer protection” in a news release.

“If they want to go to legal war with the 50 state attorneys general, that’s their prerogative,” Bruning said on KLIN.

Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning

Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning

Bruning said Yahoo had a similar attitude when he went after them a decade ago for hosting chat rooms such as “10-year-old girls looking for older men” where sexual predators could prey on children. But after New York joined the effort, the company paid Nebraska a million dollars and has since been “a model citizen.”

Bruning said companies like to “hide behind the First Amendment” —of  which he is a “big supporter” — but need to think beyond “just making money.”

He said Google has a “clear option” — remove the content and stop profiting from it. But he says the company is dragging its feet and threatened to use his subpoena power to get them moving.

“They’re trying to play slowball,” he said of Google.

Bruning’s letter notes that while Google has responded in the past by touting its efforts to combat counterfeit and pirated merchandise and illegal prescription drugs, “that commitment is not consistent with Google receiving advertising revenue from content that promotes illegal content.”

Google has not yet responded to a request for comment.

Contact Deena Winter at deena@nebraskawatchdog.org.

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Deena Winter is a reporter for NebraskaWatchdog.org. Contact her at deena@nebraskawatchdog.org and follow her on Twitter @DeenaNEWatchdog.

  • Dave

    Two of the smallest states in the nation, AGs huffing and puffing at Google. LOL. Do they really think Google will do anything more than glance at their “request”?

  • susansmithNAG

    Thank you AG Bruning for trying to stop the enticement/advertising of dangerous illegal activities on videos. I can’t believe the videos posted showing one how to make illegal drugs. In one hour a drug addict could make drugs with as little as three common household products that are explosive and highly toxic combinations. It was an eye opening YouTube search and downright frightening and downright IRRESPONSIBLE of any company to advertise on them.

  • Omaha Realist

    Poor AG – no real work to do, or yet again posturing? And “But at this point they’ve been extremely arrogant in dealing with the attorneys general,” Bruning said. has got to be one of the best recent examples of the pot calling the kettle black that I’ve seen.

  • companyemails

    So the attorney generals are going for low hanging fruit in order to generate news coverage. I would wager that most of these videos (not all), while not palatable, are also not illegal in the US and that the AGs are over reaching.

  • CharlesKGim

    The library has books on the same thing.

  • chuck drew

    So that’s how Neo-Nazi, Dictator Wannabee, Bruning spends his time searching utube for porn & other shit! The guy is a TOTAL LOSER!!!

  • Deepak

    AG should go on a vacation, if he has no work anymore. Why the hell he wants to mess with everyone. They can stop videos, but what about the bountless number of books…???

  • Deepak

    sorry, I mean countless number of books… Typing mistake

  • John Haltom

    AG, do something good. Go after internet companies that allow minors to view porn.

  • susansmithNAG

    Based on what I’ve seen of drug addicts/sellers, I’m thinking they have/or have stolen a computer and use it to get their info – not the library. But, hey who knows what those dealing in illegal activities will do for profit? Our tax dollars allow Libraries to carry or search pornography, plenty of sex addicts getting their kicks, around plenty of children. I don’t like that either.

  • Lisandro O Oocks

    NAAG <- LMAO!!!

    Anyways, I think he's somewhat right in that perhaps videos that induce illegal behavior should be taken down after a former complaint. I wonder if he tried doing such former complaint.

  • Scoled321

    People can only be safe if they are ignorant? Is that what he is saying here,

  • pinkyd

    Shutting down or making it harder for Google to do business would be a way to silence citizens by taking away from them a way to freely communicate and exchange ideas for the betterment of our society. Only a certain percentage of it is bad stuff Seeking Google’s corporation as a partner to help them weed out the illegal stuff seems like a better way to go about it. I think he could assist in other ways to be more helpful that do not cause more harm to our legal freedoms.

  • Watching_From_Lincoln

    Next, have AG Bruning go after businesses that sell provocative lingerie or sex toys. Next, have him go after and prosecute individuals for what they think, not do.

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