Google filed a lawsuit against Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood on Friday, alleging Hood singled the company out for a “burdensome, retaliatory” subpoena — the latest in an escalating fight over revelations from the massive hack of Sony Pictures.
Revealed among the mountains of confidential documents stolen from the Japanese tech giant, “Project Goliath” was a coordinated effort by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) to discredit Google and focus on the power to block sites, with the help of state attorneys general. Google and the MPAA both issued strong statements at first, before the Internet giant chose to escalate the battle.
Reported by The Verge, Google alleges that Hood is trying to hold the company accountable for online content, such as illegal prescription drugs and pirated movies, that is viewed as objectionable. This effort, according to Google, not only violates federal law, but is also unconstitutional under the First and Fourth Amendments. (Hood has faced scrutiny of his own after it was discovered he has a role in the MPAA’s efforts.)
According to Google, over the last 18 months, Hood “threatened to prosecute, sue, or investigate Google” unless the search engine agrees to block content from its platforms. With the lawsuit, Google aims to stop Hood’s subpoena, which accused Google of conducting “unfair, deceptive, and misleading” practices while also attempting to hold the company accountable for facilitating illegal content.
Talking to The Huffington Post, Hood said there is nothing wrong with asking for some assistance, specifically from the MPAA. “Google’s not a government, they may think they are, but they don’t owe anyone a First Amendment right,” Hood told the outlet. “If you’re an illegal site, you ought to clean up your act, instead of Google making money off it.”
Google’s counteroffensive also includes its #ZombieSOPA public advocacy campaign, which asks people to sign a petition to the MPAA. Things are unlikely to end here, as Hood will likely fight back against Google’s lawsuit.
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