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Thursday, February 9, 2023

Was Click Fraud Criminal Case Dropped Because Google Didn't Cooperate?

Via Techmeme,

The Vanishing Click-Fraud Case
from BusinessWeek covers how alleged click
fraud extortion case involving Google AdSense was been dropped apparently
because of Google’s unwillingness to share details on how its own systems work:

Why did a seemingly strong criminal case simply vanish? A key culprit may
have been Google’s own unwillingness to cooperate with prosecutors, according
to people familiar with the case….

By all appearances, Google faced a difficult dilemma. It could risk
divulging information about its approach to click fraud and help make a case
against Bradley, who faced a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, according
to a Justice Dept. press release. Or, Google could keep its efforts to detect
and quantify click fraud a secret, which could allow Bradley to go unpunished.

Google appears to have taken the latter path, which may have several
consequences. Would-be fraudsters still have to guess at how Google sifts out
bogus clicks. But allowing an alleged scheme to brazenly conduct click fraud
to go unpunished could embolden other fraudsters. In addition, it could
undermine the confidence of advertisers, who foot the bill for fraudulent
clicks.


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