Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood has been a persistent critic of Google, complaining that the company’s search engine leads consumers quickly to everything from pirated movies to illegal pharmaceuticals. In late October, Hood sent a broad subpoena to Google, which was recently published by The New York Times.
Now, Google has gone on the counter-attack, asking a federal judge to throw out (PDF) Hood’s subpoena. The search giant is quick to point out that Hood’s entire investigation was undertaken “following a sustained lobbying effort from the Motion Picture Association of America.”
Google says that Hood’s efforts to force it to censor and rearrange its search results are barred by multiple laws. The first is Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which generally makes websites immune from lawsuits over what’s published by third parties. The company further argues search results are protected by the First Amendment, since “the state can no more tell a search engine what results to publish than it can tell a newspaper what editorials to run.”
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