Attorney General Reyes, Google Execs meet on internet safety

SALT LAKE CITY – Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes and eight other attorneys general from around the country met with technology giant Google and its subsidiary, YouTube, to address law enforcement concerns related to the sale and promotion of unlawful conduct through their search engine and video platform. The meetings took place in Denver on Jan. 21 and addressed issues such as Google-sponsored advertising in searches and video content promoting counterfeit products, drugs, child pornography and human trafficking.

“Google and YouTube literally shape the fabric of our national culture and can have such a tremendous influence on our society for good. They have shown a commitment to combat those who would take advantage of their services for illicit purposes. We are hoping these technology leaders can do even more to stop that conduct,” Reyes said during the bipartisan meeting hosted by Colorado Attorney General John Suthers. “I look forward to collaborating with Google and YouTube to create consistent and sustainable solutions to combat such insidious elements of our society.”

Reyes was asked why he felt the need to make the trip having served less than a month and prior to a busy legislative session. He said:

It is not my style to sit back and be invited to make a difference. I saw a clear danger to Utah businesses and citizens. The impact to Utah children is particularly alarming. It is important to address these issues right away. My job is to protect Utah and it is usually best to sit down face-to-face with either a potential partner or potential adversary when you are looking for solutions. General Jim Hood and General Jon Bruning have taken the lead on these issues and I wanted to be at the table to show my support and give Utah a voice in the solutions discussed. While I am new to the job, I am not new to standing up to protect citizens of our state.

While Google and YouTube have been largely successful in addressing some of these issues, we are asking them to find even more innovative and effective ways to demote, delist or take other actions to discourage sites and content that enable or openly peddle illegal activity. I’m pleased they have been receptive to our concerns. We have jointly begun to put in place a framework for more serious discussions that will hopefully lead to decisive actions. Having Google and YouTube bring such a large and well-prepared team to meet with us speaks to their good faith in finding solutions.

Internet search engines face serious challenges in balancing the interests of free speech in a free market with trying to regulate, discourage or prevent the promotion of illicit activity.

A short video of AG Reyes talking about his visit can be found here.

Submitted by the Utah Attorney General’s Office

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