The Sad Tale of How Feds Helped a Crook Cost Some Helpful People a Half a Billion Bucks


A sadly morality-free tale from the June issue of Wired called "Drugstore Cowboy" about how the federal government helped get someone demonstrably out to cheat and harm other people out of jail quicker by supporting him on a complicated multi-month program trying to entrap some helpful people at Google into doing what Google does–selling ads and helping its customers.

Alas for Google, this help ended up costing the company half a billion bucks paid over to the federal government because the customer they were helping was apparently helping Americans buy drugs and medicines from overseas that the government has decided we can't buy unless a member of a protected guild (a "licensed physician") waves his magic pen over a piece of paper on our behalf.

It's a sordid and terrible tale, told well enough, but without the moral dudgeon–against the Feds and for Google–that it deserves. In fact, the reporter Jake Pearson even seems to think we should be upset about Google over this.

We shouldn't be. The federal government's behavior over this was gross, and that it cost Google that insane amount of money is a crime. That the whole procedure involved helping out a guy with a career of trying to defraud people at the expense of a company that has done an enormous amount at no cost to all of us to make our lives better makes it even more disgusting.