During a three-hour hearing, lawyer Peter Neiman told Judge Wingate that (Mississippi Attorney General Jim) Hood was, indirectly though his investigation, trying to give states the power to filter the internet.

“They’re trying to cloak themselves in, ‘let’s make the internet safer’,” Mr Neiman said.

But the Democratic attorney general says Google profits from illegal activity through its own conduct.

The showdown between Google and Mr Hood escalated last year when Hood sent a 79-page subpoena to Google demanding the company produces information on whether it is helping criminals by allowing its search engine to lead to pirated music, having its autocomplete function suggest illegal activities and sharing YouTube ad revenue with the makers of videos promoting illegal drug sales.

The judge said he would rule on February 24.

Google argues that the US Congress made it immune from Hood’s investigation when it passed the Communications Decency Act in 1996. That law says internet service providers are not responsible for content provided by others. Mr Neiman said everything Mr Hood cited was third-party content.

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