Digital Citizens Alliance

The Digital Citizens Alliance is a United States non-profit organization focused on Internet safety issues.[1] It has criticized Google for not systematically removing videos from YouTube that are used to perpetrate fraud or provide instructions for buying drugs.[2][3] In 2014 a debate was prompted by leaked Sony emails about whether the organization inappropriately influenced politician Mike Moore by hiring Jim Hood, who simultaneously served the politician on a pro-bono basis.

Reports and Filings

In 2013, Digital Citizens Alliance did an expose on online pharmacies selling drugs to minors.[4][5] This was followed by a report on online drug marketplaces like Silk Road in 2014.[6] DCA have issued several reports alleging that Google inappropriately profited from advertising revenues on YouTube videos that promote the sale of unlawful sale of controlled substance.[7]

Digital Citizens has conducted reports on whether ad-supported websites were infringing copyrights of movies and television shows.[8] In one report, with MediaLink, Digital Citizens estimated that ad-supported content theft was at least a $227 million business.[9]

In another report, Digital Citizens advocated that credit card companies were offering stolen content for a subscription fee.[10] In September 2014, they commissioned a report via the brand protection organization NetNames reporting how various cyberlocker sites 'make millions' in profit.[11] The CEO of cloud storage service Mega said the allegations were 'grossly untrue and highly defamatory'[12] and 4shared said the report was 'defamatory'.[13] Mega, however, never actually followed up on its threat to sue.

They have provided ongoing coverage of the state of darknet markets.[14]

Advocacy issues

In 2014 in response to leaked Sony emails, former attorney general Peggy Lautenschlager said the DCA had inappropriately influenced politician Jim Hood. The organization hired lobbyist Mike Moore, who also served Hood as a consultant on a pro-bono basis. The article alleged he used his relationship as a pro-bono consultant to serve the agenda of private industry, such as Microsoft and the movie industry. Jim Hood and the Mike Moore said they are motivated by Google's conduct as opposed to private industry.[15] In June 2015 Google subpoenaed DCA and related lobbying organizations who had worked with Hood for documents about its relationship with Jim Hood.[16] The lawsuit was ultimately dropped.


  1. ABC News. "Silk Road: Underground Website Used for Black Market Drug Sales Bigger Than The Original, Report Says - ABC News". ABC News.
  2. "Hood: Google pulls videos on evading prescriptions". Yahoo News. 11 June 2013.
  3. Los Angeles Times (16 June 2014). "Videos aimed at aiding credit card fraud abundant on YouTube".
  4. WZZM 13 Staff, WZZM 13 (12 June 2013). "Teens getting access to online prescription drugs". WZZM 13 News.
  5. "Hood: Google pulls videos on evading prescriptions". The Commercial Dispatch.
  6. "Silk Road drug sales going strong after 'Dread Pirate Roberts' arrest". CNET. CBS Interactive.
  7. "Need drugs or a fake ID? Try YouTube.". Washington Post.
  8. Ted Johnson. "Report: 'Blue Chip' Brands Still Account for Ads on Piracy Sites - Variety". Variety.
  9. "New Report Says How Much Advertising Is Going to Piracy Sites". AdWeek.
  10. Los Angeles Times (18 September 2014). "Credit card companies helping 'rogue' websites, study says".
  11. NetNames. "BEHIND THE CYBERLOCKER DOOR: A Report on How Shadowy Cyberlocker Businesses Use Credit Card Companies to Make illions" (PDF). Digital Citizens Alliance. Retrieved 19 September 2014.
  12. Andy. "Mega Demands Apology Over "Defamatory" Cyberlocker Report". Retrieved 19 September 2014.
  13. Ernesto (October 20, 2014). "4shared Demands Retraction Over Misleading Piracy Report". Retrieved 9 November 2014.
  14. Paganini, Pierluigi (5 September 2014). "The rapid growth of the Darknet black markets". Retrieved 25 May 2015.
  15. WINGFIELD, NICK (December 16, 2014). "Google's Detractors Take Their Fight to the States". Retrieved 1 January 2015.
  16. Ernesto (3 June 2015). "Google Takes MPAA to Court Over Secret Censorship Plans". Retrieved 4 June 2015.

External links

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