Google fight back on for Attorney General

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Attorney General Jim Hood blasted tech giant Google on Monday, days after a federal court of appeals ruled that the state’s top lawyer can continue his investigation into some of its actions.

Hood’s concerns with Google revolve around access to illegal activity on the web, like teenage prostitution, purchasing prescription drugs illegally and pirating movies and music online.

Attorney General Jim Hood

Mississippi Today

Attorney General Jim Hood

Hood railed against the company Monday in an interview with reporters, calling the company “arrogant” and likening the state’s dealings with Google to “negotiating with teenagers.”

In October 2014, Hood subpoenaed Google for information that he said contributes to illegal activity, including the promotion of drug sales and ease of access to movie and music pirating. Google did not comply with Hood’s subpoena and instead sued him in federal court.

In court filings, Google claimed it cannot be held responsible for what others post online, which is a protection granted to them in a 1996 federal law called the Communications Decency Act. Google spokesmen have told reporters that Hood’s subpoena was a way to censor the Web.

A federal district court judge ruled in Google’s favor in 2015, shutting down Hood’s investigation. But the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned that decision on Friday, paving the way for Hood to continue the investigation.

“Maybe we can now work with them and go forward, and maybe they’ve grown up a little bit,” Hood said Monday. “You have a company that’s not even explaining how things work, which is all we were doing to begin with … Hopefully we can sit down and have a civil conversation now. We can hopefully reevaluate what they’ve done and what else can be done.”

After the decision was released on Friday, Google released a statement: “We’re reviewing the implications of the Court’s decision, which focused on whether our claim was premature rather than on the merits of the case.”

Company spokesperson William Fitzgerald said on Monday the company did not have further comment.

The lawsuit has garnered national attention. Hood skeptics pointed out that documents released in the Sony hack of 2015 showed a large portion of Hood’s subpoena was drafted by Motion Picture of America (MPAA) attorneys.

But on Monday, Hood said his intentions – which have focused on teenage prostitution and illegal drugs – are supported by 40 other attorneys general.

“There is no federal agency assigned to policing the Internet,” Hood said. “There’s a chance here for Google to do some real good. We just have to have that conversation with them.”