Tech giant Google must hand over identifying information to Ireland’s second most senior politician about the buyers of crypto scam ads that used his likeness, a court has ruled.
Tánaiste Mícheál Martin of the Fianna Fáil party says ads promising to “transform anyone into a millionaire within three to four months” have damaged his reputation. With this court ruling, Martin aims to hold those accountable.
Local media reports that an agreement was reached between the two parties before heading to court. On Thursday, a judge formally ruled that Google must provide the financial accounts used to pay for the crypto scam ads, along with associated names, IP addresses, and more.
Google said that it won’t object to any court orders — but its legal counsel noted it wasn’t consenting, either.
Buyers of crypto scam ads join Martin’s naughty list by Christmas
In previous court action, the Fianna Fáil party said that the crypto scam ads displayed “egregious policy violations.” Google took down the paid content and suspended the accounts.
Martin says there’s a strong public interest in identifying the scammers and holding them legally accountable. He told the court he was concerned the ads would not only damage his reputation but erode trust in the political system.
Martin said in a statement, “Every citizen should be entitled to request and receive information relating to the bad actors behind these schemes. The Tánaiste also believes there is a significant onus on large tech companies, including Google, to do all they can to ensure their platforms and products are not weaponised by bad actors and scammers.”
This latest court order will force Google to give up details of the financial accounts paying for the ads, the IP addresses of those accessing the relevant crypto scam ad accounts, and the names, email addresses, and phone numbers of account holders, all within 21 days.
Account holders linked to the crypto scam ads will likely receive a heads up by Google before it discloses their information.