Google and the slippery slope of advertising on rogue sites: It may have started with “a little” funding of organized copyright infringement but it’s gonna end with investigations into violations of terror funding laws. There is no other way around it. This time governments can not turn a blind eye to Google misdeeds.
As many of the readers of the Trichordist are aware, we have spent the last 5 years chronicling how the Google advertising ecosystem funds the for profit music and film piracy business. Along the way we discovered that Google advertising appeared to be supporting all kinds of other illegal activities. The biggest problem for Google so far was the “Canadian Pharmacy”criminal drug investigation. These so-called “Canadian Pharmacies” are not necessarily in Canada nor are they legitimate pharmacies. They are sophisticated professional drug trafficking operations. That’s why it was a criminal not civil investigation conducted by a US attorney. Google was caught red handed advertising these “Canadian Pharmacies” and paid a $500,000,000 fine to settle the matter. That’s right 1/2 a billion dollars. But IMHO someone should have gone to jail. . Prosecutors routinely prosecute the drug dealer’s accountants and bankers, why should advertising company executives be treated any differently?
Last week the Times of London reported that Google was slinging advertising onto terror affiliated YouTube channels. We noted last night that Google was advertising its own products on a YouTube video channel that seemed to be operated by Hezbollah or a group that supports Hezbollah. The Register in the UK verified our story and asked Google if funds were going to the operators of this channel. Google did not reply but the YouTube channel disappeared within the hour.
The important thing to understand is that with pre-roll video advertising there is often some kind of revenue share agreement between the operators of the video channel and Google. The Times of London reports “The practice is likely to generate tens of thousands of pounds a month for extremists.”
So did Google pay money to the operators of these YouTube channels? Yes or No? The anti-terror treasury sanctions are complex. But this seems to be exactly the sort of case for which they were designed. Certainly the UK’s Solicitor General warned that Google could face criminal probe:
‘There is an offence of recklessly disseminating this material, and the criminal law is there is a clear boundary beyond which they should not stray.
‘I think the legislation is clear. It is my hope and expectation that these organisations will indeed come to heel and obey the law but the law is there if necessary.’
Even without the money, isn’t hosting a channel that distributes propaganda for ISIS, Hezbollah or other terrorist groups material support for those groups? Google should be investigated.