Judge Andrew Napolitano spoke on Fox Business about the role that Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) played in the arrest of a Florida sex offender. He talked about the lengths that the world’s biggest Internet search engine can go to protect itself from indictment as a conspirator in unlawful activities.
A Florida sex offender was arrested after Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) provided to the police emails that contained explicit photos of minors. Although the sex offense is a serious issue, and Google can earn praises for its role in the latest arrest, the case also raises serious concerns about how much of private information Google has access to and what they can do with that information.
As to how much of the private information Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) has access, Judge Napolitano cited the kinds of languages that the company uses, which means one cannot use the email to advance criminal activities. He said Google can and may report on suspicious communications.
“[...] If just say for the sake of our argument, that this is child pornography. The very possession of child pornography is a federal crime so clearly its transmission is a federal crime and if you read your agreement with Google there is all kinds of language in there about you cannot use the instrumentality of what they are providing you to commit a crime,” he said.
He said that in flagging the sex offense email, Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) acted appropriately in that they could themselves be in problem for allowing their platform to be used for unlawful activities. Judge Napolitano went on to say that Google probably has algorithms and software or even both, which help them to identify emails that may be potentially problematic. He said that because of the risks of being indicted over criminal conspiracy, it is only natural that Google protect themselves by intruding into suspicious emails.
“[...] Google is not the government, and you can refuse to deal with Google, so this is not the NSA listening to all of our phone calls. The constitution would have no problem with Google going through emails to see that which is prohibited,” Judge Napolitano said regarding whether Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) can look into private communications to find the bad actors. However, he added that the company must warn its users about the possibility of such checks.