In a first-of-its-kind legal move by a major tech company, Google has initiated legal action against a group of online scammers exploiting public interest in AI, using fake pages and Google’s logos to spread malware.
Google is taking a firm stand against online scammers, specifically those capitalizing on the increasing public interest in artificial intelligence. The tech giant has filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, targeting scammers believed to be based in Vietnam. This legal action appears to be the first significant effort by a major technology company to address the rise in AI-related online scams.
The scammers, operating several Facebook pages with names like “Google AI,” “AIGoogle,” and “AIGoogleBard,” used Google’s logos, marketing colors, and images of CEO Sundar Pichai to make their fraudulent schemes seem legitimate. However, individuals lured by these pages and clicking on provided links are not directed to Google’s AI tools like Bard, but instead are infected with malware that steals login credentials.
Google’s general counsel, Halimah DeLaine Prado, expressed in a blog post that appropriate legal action and collaboration with government officials are crucial to putting such scammers “squarely in the crosshairs of justice,” thus promoting a safer internet for everyone.
This lawsuit underscores the limited options companies and individuals have in responding to online scams and cyber threats. Scammers often operate from countries without extradition treaties with the U.S., which limits the fear of legal repercussions and makes international cybercrimes challenging to combat.
In a broader context, large tech companies are increasingly using copyright law to fight against the spread of online-based crimes. Earlier this year, Microsoft and cybersecurity company Fortra took similar legal steps using copyright law against illegitimate copies of the security tool Cobalt Strike.
Google has also filed a separate copyright infringement complaint targeting scammers linked to online t-shirt retailers. These scammers allegedly set up Google accounts to submit fraudulent copyright claims against competitors, resulting in the removal of over 117,000 third-party website URLs.
Google’s legal actions reflect a growing trend among tech giants to use copyright law as a tool to combat online crimes and protect their intellectual property and the safety of internet users.
Sources include: Axios