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Go Daddy-Google group targets bogus pill merchants

Kevin Murphy, December 15, 2010, 20:13:43 (UTC), Domain Policy

The newly forming industry body tasked with taking down web sites selling fake pharmaceuticals plans to meet next month to develop its mission statement and charter, according to Go Daddy general counsel Christine Jones.

Jones said in an interview tonight that the group, which Go Daddy is jointly “spearheading” with Google, is likely to meet in Phoenix, Arizona in the third week of January.

As I blogged earlier today, the organization was formed following a series of meetings at the White House, which has a policy of reducing counterfeit drugs sales online.

Domain name companies including Go Daddy, eNom, Neustar and Network Solutions are joined in the currently nameless non-profit by the three major search engines and all the major payment processors.

Jones confirmed that redirecting a domain name is an action a participating registrar could take if it finds an infringing site. Go Daddy and others already do this in cases of child porn, for example.

But the group will also share information about fake pharma sites so Google, for example, would also be able to block them from search and Visa could stop payments being processed, Jones told me.

The White House meetings were organized by Victoria Espinel, the administration’s Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator (IPEC).

So, while the group has yet to formalize its policies, I wanted to know what the prevailing opinion is on how “illegal” a site will have to be before the group will try to take it down.

Taking down a site selling sugar pills or industrial acid as HIV treatments is one thing, killing a site selling genuine medications to people without prescriptions is another, and blocking a legit pharmacy that sells drugs to Americans with prescriptions more cheaply from across the Canadian border is yet another.

Jones said: “If a pharmacy is a licensed pharmacy and is abiding by whatever the state rules are wherever they’re located, that’s not our target.”

Apparently the new organization, which will be formed as a non-profit entity, may help the companies to avoid running afoul of ECPA, the US Electronic Communications Privacy Act.

Jones said that other companies participating in the White House meetings still have not decided whether to join the new group or not. End-of-year budgetary issues may be a factor here.

Domain registrars have come in for considerable flak over 2010 for allegedly not doing enough to counter fake pharma sites.

A Knujon report published in May, and others, eventually led to eNom in particular promising to crack down harder on rogue pharmacies.

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Comments (1)

  1. theo says:

    Tho nojunk goals are noble and kill off all these bogus russian viagra resellers it will help much (where they got their funding btw ?)

    Let’s have a look at warez : still ongoing
    Let’s have a look at movie downloads : still ongoing
    Let’s have a look at music downloads: still ongoing i love google for providing me way faster ways to download music then usenet or p2p.

    Nojunk vs spam .. i get spam to fill in an ip address to order viagra instead of a domain name.

    Beside their best efforts i did not receive less spam ..

    Legitscript goal seems to get ridd of every pharmacy site legit or not. Ignoring the problem that Americans order their non generic medication since their insurance company does not cover the bill for American medication. 75% cheaper when you order in Canada same results. And your insurance company will cover those.

    Flaw in the system ? Yes!

    If my comment starts a flamewar, then please delete my comment. There is no discussion possible with people who are on a crusade.

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