Politician drops child porn suit against Google

The Nassau County, N.Y., politician had accused the search giant of profiting from illicit images.

A New York politician who accused Google of profiting from child pornography and violating federal law has dropped his lawsuit, the search giant said.

Jeffrey Toback, a Democratic representative in the Nassau County, N.Y., government, had filed the complaint in May with the New York State Supreme Court. In the lawsuit, Toback charged that Google was making the illicit images an "obscenely profitable and integral part" of its business model.

Specifically, the suit accused the company of amassing billions of dollars by allowing child pornography and "other obscene content" promoters to advertise their sites through sponsored links, which are tailored to a person's search terms and automatically accompany search results.

Toback's attorneys on Wednesday filed court documents saying he would discontinue the legal challenge. The legislator could not be immediately reached for comment on Friday.

Google spokesman Steve Langdon said the company was pleased the suit had been dismissed.

"If Mr. Toback would like to talk with us about something, he should consider approaching it with a phone call, letter or other common form of communication, not an irresponsible lawsuit," he wrote late Thursday in an e-mail to CNET News.com. "The claims he made in his lawsuit are some of the most far-fetched accusations we've ever heard."

Google prohibits child pornography in its products, removes all such content whenever its employees find or are made aware of it, and reports it to the proper law enforcement officials, Langdon had emphasized at the time the suit was filed.

The content policy for Google's AdWords sponsored links service says it broadly bars "promotion of child pornography or other non-consensual material." The company also offers a filtering tool called SafeSearch that aims to block offensive content in search results.

 

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