Could the Feds take down Google for linking to illegal material?

John Moe Feb 3, 2011

US Immigrations and Customs Enforcement announced Wednesday that it recently shut down 10 websites, that it says were linking to other websites that hosted pirated material like pay-per-view entertainment and streaming sports coverage.

But if the offense here is that they were just linking to the material, not even hosting it but just linking to it, does that open up a whole host of questions? Are links illegal?

In a phone interview today, I asked Homeland Security Investigation Special Agent James Hayes (he was in charge of these raids) whether Google could be taken down since they link to all kinds of things. Right after I asked him about it, the phone suddenly cut out. We still don’t know why. It took us a while before Lori Dankers, a public affairs officer at ICE, reconnected us.

Here’s an audio recording of the call:

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