Via Techmeme, The Vanishing Click-Fraud Case from BusinessWeek covers how alleged click fraud extortion case involving Google AdSense was been dropped apparently because of Google’s unwillingness to share details on how its own systems work:
Why did a seemingly strong criminal case simply vanish? A key culprit may have been Google’s own unwillingness to cooperate with prosecutors, according to people familiar with the case….
By all appearances, Google faced a difficult dilemma. It could risk divulging information about its approach to click fraud and help make a case against Bradley, who faced a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, according to a Justice Dept. press release. Or, Google could keep its efforts to detect and quantify click fraud a secret, which could allow Bradley to go unpunished.
Google appears to have taken the latter path, which may have several consequences. Would-be fraudsters still have to guess at how Google sifts out bogus clicks. But allowing an alleged scheme to brazenly conduct click fraud to go unpunished could embolden other fraudsters. In addition, it could undermine the confidence of advertisers, who foot the bill for fraudulent clicks.