Google has been sued by Nassau County Legislator Jeffrey Toback
who claims that it is promoting and profiting from child
pornography, going so far as to suggest that child porn is part of
its business model, according to reports.09 May 2006
Newsday reports that Toback filed his lawsuit with the Nassau State Supreme Court as a private citizen, with no county funds. It claims that Google "makes its money, in part by facilitating deviant criminals in the procurement, transfer and marketing of illicit and patently illegal material, including child pornography and other obscenity that is banned under federal and state law."
OUT-LAW has not had sight of the complaint, but the crux of it appears to be that sites hosting illegal material are found by searching on Google and even advertised through sponsored links from which Google makes money.
ZD Net quotes Google spokesman Steve Langdon who explained Google's policy to remove child pornography from Google's products, including its search engine, upon finding or being made aware of it.
This approach is consistent with both US law and UK law. In short, search engines are not obliged to actively police the content to which they provide access; but they must respond quickly when they receive notice of illegal material.