By Holly Wilson
In the wake of the alleged North Korean, state-sponsored cyberattack on Sony Corporation last week, a serious conversation about protecting American companies and citizens, as well as their data and intellectual property, from entities (especially foreign) with malicious intent should be of the utmost importance.
While serious and responsible Internet stakeholders are banding together to build up defenses against cyberattacks and avoid facilitating illicit behavior on the Internet, Google has decided to take advantage of this crisis for their own gain.
In a blog post last week, Google turned the attention away from addressing serious security concerns related to privacy, theft, sabotage, and cyber terrorism in favor of promoting a less than honest narrative that attempts to smear current judicial efforts aimed at preventing the trafficking of drugs, stolen content, and intellectual property online.
For years, Google been under investigation by various governments – both federal and state – for activities related to anticompetitive practices, invasion of privacy, and facilitating theft, fraud, and the illicit sale of drugs among other things.
Most recently, Mississippi’s Attorney General Jim Hood, along with twenty-three other Attorneys General requested documents from Google with the intention of resolving an issue related to the display of websites in search results known to be selling illegal substances, counterfeit products, or stolen intellectual property. Upon receipt of over 99,000 “jumbled, unsearchable documents,” Attorney General Hood and others continued to work with Google, providing additional time for full compliance with the request for information. These officials hoped that an agreement could be reached.
Unfortunately, after the Sony hack, Google immediately went on the attack claiming that the movie industry, in coordination with these Attorneys General were attempting to re-launch efforts to pass SOPA-like restrictions and “censor the internet”. This could not be further from the truth. Rather than changing statutory law, the actions of the Attorneys General were simply an attempt to enforce current law. And now Google is suing them for doing their job.
Moving forward, it is important to recognize Google’s argument for what it is – a self-serving, strategic deflection intended to allow their continued profit from the sale and distribution of illegal products and stolen content on the web. Illegal activity is not, and should not, be covered under the First Amendment, and claiming that efforts to stop such activity constitute censorship are patently false.
Additionally, it should also be remembered that this self-serving deflection is a distraction from the real issue – finding ways to protect American companies and citizens against cyber threats and attacks, as well as the theft of their intellectual property and private communications.
Let’s not let Google change the subject.
By Holly Wilson