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Google Denies Data In Brazil Orkut Case 183

Posted by kdawson
from the whose-laws? dept.
mikesd81 writes, "The AP reports that Google filed a motion in response to a Brazilian judge's deadline to turn over information on users of the company's social networking service Orkut. An earlier AP story gives the background: 'On Aug. 22, Federal Judge Jose Marcos Lunardelli gave Google's Brazilian affiliate until Sept. 28 to release information needed to identify individuals accused of using Orkut to spread child pornography and engage in hate speech against blacks, Jews and homosexuals. Google claims that its Brazilian affiliate cannot provide the information because all the data about Orkut users is stored outside Brazil at the company's U.S.-based headquarters. Google maintains that it is open to requests for information from foreign governments as long as the requests comply with U.S. laws and that they are issued within the country where the information is stored.'" Eight million Brazilians, about a quarter of the country's Internet-using population, are members of Orkut.
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Google Denies Data In Brazil Orkut Case

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  • Interesting (Score:3, Insightful)

    by B3ryllium (571199) on Saturday September 30, 2006 @05:34PM (#16261025) Homepage
    That's going to be quite a kerfuffle, I would imagine.

    Kudos to google for protecting user's rights, though.
    • by flooey (695860) on Saturday September 30, 2006 @05:38PM (#16261051)
      That's going to be quite a kerfuffle, I would imagine.

      Kudos to google for protecting user's rights, though.


      And kudos to you, sir, for using the word kerfuffle.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by p3t0r (816736)
      I think Google isn't protecting any rights, but just being legally right. From TFA: "Google maintains that it is open to requests for information from foreign governments as long as the requests comply with U.S. laws and that they are issued within the country where the information is stored.'" So, no kudos from me!!
      • by cp.tar (871488)

        So, you posit that in order for Google to comply with its "don't be evil" motto, they have to grant their users more protection than they're granted by law?

        Or, to put it more precisely, you think Google should fight for their users's right to privacy even when it is illegal for them to do so?

        Would you care to explain this to me in some more detail?

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by PPGMD (679725)
      Yes kudos to Google for protecting criminals. If the story is right (granted it's a news item), the Brazilian police have identified accounts that are being used for the crimes, and wants their IP addresses so they can track them down.

      Also Google isn't defending the users rights, they are simply saying "Send the request to Mountain View, not to our local affiliate," whether they are doing that as a delaying measure or not remains to be seen.

      • Re:Interesting (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Korin43 (881732) on Saturday September 30, 2006 @05:51PM (#16261161) Homepage
        I think the point is that Google isn't going to give away information to just anyone who asks, they have to fill out a form and stand in line just like everyone else.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Dachannien (617929)
        Yes kudos to Google for protecting criminals.

        The morality of their actions is open to opinion. So-called "hate speech", for example, is not only not illegal in the US, but is actually protected by the US Constitution. While Brazilians obviously aren't governed by US law, it still shows that Google "protecting criminals" isn't necessarily a bad thing.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by claes (25551)
          Yes because obviously the US Constitution is the best constitution there is.
          • by MightyYar (622222)
            It may not be the "best" - not that I know how to quantify that - but it certainly seems to have better free-speech protections than Brazil's.
          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by Plutonite (999141)
            Good point. Many of the recent wars and political stand-offs have been driven by a sense in infallibility in American politics. They need to realize that even if leaders imply action is based on American principles, these principles may not be good enough to impose on other people.

            Some level of maturity needs to be applied though. I'd hand over the logs if serious crimes were committed, but some data must have gone past Brazilian ISPs before google. Why aren't they made to respond first?
            • by MightyYar (622222)
              Actually, the US constitution is not really relevant to this discussion except for the 1st Amendment "Right to Free Speech". The US has one of the least restrictive governmental policies in the world on freedom of speech, so I'm not sure what the complaint would be.
          • more to the point, the U.S. Constitution is the one that governs Google HQ, and thus this information.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by metlin (258108)
            > Yes because obviously the US Constitution is the best constitution there is.

            Considering that it's kept us democratic and free for 219 years, without a single military coup in history, I'd say it's a darned good one.
            • by dryeo (100693)
              How do you know? Seems your election procedures are not open lately.
              • by metlin (258108)
                Maybe and maybe not, but either way, we do have a re-election coming up soon, you know?

                If this were not a functional democracy, that would not be the case. Then again, it's not over till the fat lady sings and all that.
            • ... and do not mind the occasional civil war?
            • edit: "Considering that it's kept white-christian-hetrosexual-males democratic and free for 219 years"
            • Yeah well, it was fun while it lasted.
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Aceticon (140883)

              > Yes because obviously the US Constitution is the best constitution there is.

              Considering that it's kept us democratic and free for 219 years, without a single military coup in history, I'd say it's a darned good one.

              Well, there was the small issue of a civil war, so i reckon there's probably a couple of constitutions with a beter track record.

              The part about democratic is also flawed: i suggest that investigate "gerrymandering" to see how politicians make sure they get reelected whether or not they do a

          • Define "hate speech", then make that sarcastic statement again.

            If you make it possible to criminalize any statements that you don't like, someday someone may decide they don't like your statements. "Common carrier", anyone?
      • Re:Interesting (Score:4, Interesting)

        by MightyYar (622222) on Saturday September 30, 2006 @05:58PM (#16261227)
        Yes kudos to Google for protecting criminals.

        Ah, but "criminals" are different in each country, aren't they? From the article:

        Google insisted it already had complied with court requests to identify individuals accused of using Orkut to spread child pornography and engage in hate speech against blacks, Jews and homosexuals.

        In the US, child pornography is illegal, but you can say anything you want about blacks, Jews, and homosexuals. It's not going to win you any popularity contests, but you can be as much of a racist bigoted anti-semitic prick as you want to be. Frankly, it is frightening that you can be arrested for stating your opinions - no matter how despicable. This is why the "Madonna potentially getting arrested in Germany for offending Christians" news item got so much play state-side.

        • by LindseyJ (983603)
          The only downside to that is that she probably would have found a way to continue releasing albums from in prison...
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by fmobus (831767)
        Methinks Google is trying to avoid wasting a precious evidence (ips of the offenders) on processual grounds. Someone could try to defend himself challenging the way the evidence was obtained.

        Also, they can't release user information stored in USA without a proper court order (eg. an US court order). If they do so, they are risking themselves to lawsuits. I guess Google wants the evidence gathering done in a perfect (legal) manner, protecting users rights (according to US law), rather than protecting the cri
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Ducho_CWB (900642)
      If you want open just 'only a marketing office' at foreign countries, you really need obey the foreign contries laws. If you not agree with this, pack your stuff and go out. well, about protecting user's rights, exist a list with exact names to be show. There's not the entire orkut or the entire brazilian database at orkut.
      • Re:Interesting (Score:5, Insightful)

        by russotto (537200) on Saturday September 30, 2006 @06:19PM (#16261341) Journal
        I see. So if AT&T had an office in Saudi Arabia, they should comply with Saudi requests for phone records concerning Americans who had made remarks disparaging to Saudi Arabia, if those records were requested in accordance with Saudi law? Opening an office in a country shouldn't subject your entire opetation to that countries' laws.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Ducho_CWB (900642)
          almost right.
          So if AT&T had an office in Saudi Arabia, they should comply with Saudi requests for phone records concerning SAUDI who had made remarks disparaging to Saudi Arabia.
          • Re:Interesting (Score:5, Interesting)

            by MightyYar (622222) on Saturday September 30, 2006 @07:01PM (#16261587)
            So, in your opinion, is it better for AT&T (or Google) to not do business in Saudi Arabia (or Brazil), or for them to resist the authorities and get closed down? I'm a little torn on this issue, so I like to hear from people about this. In this case, Google would have had to refuse to do business in Brazil because Brazilian free speech laws are more repressive than in the US. I don't know if I agree with that. If American firms refused to do business in all countries with more restrictive free speech rules than the US, there would be virtually no US presence overseas. Or, more likely, there would hardly be any company based in the US.
            • That's their choice to make. You know, if you believe in a "principle" that strongly, you follow it. Caving in for a little cash makes a mockery of what you believe in. Arguing that "it's better for Google to be there at all, rather than not" (a la the China farce) is laughable - it's "at what point, at what dollar figure, am I willing to sell out my beliefs?"

              So yes, in my opinion, it IS better for AT&T (or Google) to not do business in Saudi Arabia (or Brazil), if the 'ideals' (and laws) of said coun

              • by MightyYar (622222)

                I think that I WANT to go in that direction, but then how far do you take it? Should AT&T only operate in states that have favorable privacy laws? What if an, ahem, administration comes to power that demands they spy on their customers... should they just close up shop or keep operating while they fight the order? Should Google simply refuse Brazilian ad money, or should they actively block Brazilian IP addresses? I'm not sure that morality can necessarily be thrust upon corporations.

                I guess the main p

        • by BigDiz (962986)

          I see. So if AT&T had an office in Saudi Arabia, they should comply with Saudi requests for phone records concerning Americans who had made remarks disparaging to Saudi Arabia, if those records were requested in accordance with Saudi law? Opening an office in a country shouldn't subject your entire opetation to that countries' laws.

          That is not at all what Google has said

          Google maintains that it is open to requests for information from foreign governments as long as the requests comply with U.S. laws

        • by woolio (927141)
          Opening an office in a country shouldn't subject your entire opetation to that countries' laws.

          Indeed ... Where would the clothing and footwear companies be without child labor?

  • by brndn (998670)
    stick it to the man using the man, that's what i say. force the world to regulate the internet! thanks google.
  • On one hand, the Brazilian government wants the IPs to go after pedophiles and racist hatemongers. I think we can all get behind throwing such people in very small cells with no windows and melting the key down as they watch.

    On the other, this is an American company receiving a demand from Brazil. If they comply with this demand to hand over IPs, who's to say such wonderful democratic places as Saudi Arabia and China won't start demanding information on dissidents and getting it via this precedent (Ok, s
    • Without a doubt if Google loses here it will set a precedent for other governments to invade our privacy.
    • by GigsVT (208848) on Saturday September 30, 2006 @06:53PM (#16261549) Journal
      pedophiles and racist hatemongers. I think we can all get behind throwing such people in very small cells with no windows and melting the key down as they watch.

      Pedophilia isn't a crime, and neither is hating someone. So, no, not everyone wants to live in your Orwellian fantasy where thoughtcrime is a common reason to throw someone in jail.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by bcat24 (914105)
        Amen to that! Hating someone may be immoral. (I certainly think it is.) But hating someone is *not* a crime. Crime is in the action, or at least attempted action. Wanting to hate someone or rape someone or kill someone or blow up a building, etc. is *very* different from actually doing any of those things.
    • Umm I may stand corrected, but while Google has agreed to block some content for China. I am quite sure they have maintained and stuck by their policy of not providing any Data to China, something Yahoo and other companies have done.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      I dont think I can get behind locking people up for their thoughts or speech. sorry.
    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Please look up what pedophilia actually means. It's irresponsible to imply that pedophiles are automatically criminals. Most people don't get to choose their sexual orientations and fetishes and almost all pedophiles (there are more than you think, what with all that pressure to keep it secret) never actually act on their fantasies. No, I'm not a pedophile, but that stigma is quite a terrible thing for many people.
    • Please note that Google is asked not for IP's but for the identity of the persons. Users of Google "products" such as Orkut, gMail, Google Checkout, customized homepage, etc., gradually provide increasingly explicit information on who they are.

      I don't know if it's for better or worse, but Google is very likely able to provide names and addresses, not only IP's.

      I use enough Google gizmos that I'm damned paranoid. They know specifially who I am, what I read, my searches, etc. Hell, I even clicked on a /. l
    • And just how are you going to melt the key while they watch, if their cell has no windows?
  • Google are acting the political entity they are complete with foreign policy and juridical independence.

    Google is no longer an ongoing enterprise, folks.
  • Google Denies Data In Brazil Orkut Case
     
      Good.
  • by bigdavesmith (928732) on Saturday September 30, 2006 @06:53PM (#16261555)
    If Google kept their servers in space, or on the moon, or somewhere where no country really has claim, could they just ignore any request by any government to hand over data?
    • A brilliant idea! Dibs on outsourcing my Cayman Island headquarters to Antarctica!
    • The connection still has to go through an International provider ; that connection to the backbone would be on US or EU soil ;
      as well, their representation offices are spread over the world; which could be a problem too.

      So many loopholes and so many ways to catch a fish...
    • by vr (9777)
      If Google kept their servers in space, or on the moon, or somewhere where no country really has claim, could they just ignore any request by any government to hand over data?

      No, because as long as the company is based on Earth, they're still subject to whatever laws the government of the country they're in impose on them. Uhm, well, this might depend on the laws in that country as well...

      I remember a while ago that a Norwegian company was sued because of some hardcore (illegal) porn that they served from a
  • Who owns the data? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by cryfreedomlove (929828) on Saturday September 30, 2006 @06:56PM (#16261567)
    If Google owns the data then one option they have is to simply destroy it. No government can compell them to hand over something they no longer have.
    • by mikesd81 (518581)
      This worked well for Enron. You just get in trouble for destroying evidence.
    • by flooey (695860)
      If Google owns the data then one option they have is to simply destroy it. No government can compell them to hand over something they no longer have.

      That would generally be called obstruction of justice, which would expose individuals inside Google to the possibility of spending some time in a Brazilian jail. If a court of law has asked you for information, it's illegal to destroy it.
      • Brazilian courts have asked for the data. I live in the USA. I'll destroy the data and Brazil can cry in their beer.
        • by flooey (695860)
          Brazilian courts have asked for the data. I live in the USA. I'll destroy the data and Brazil can cry in their beer.

          Except for the fact that obstruction of justice is one of the crimes covered by the US-Brazil extradition treaty. Are you willing to stake your freedom on the United States government caring more about you than their relations with the largest country in South America?
      • by SeaFox (739806)
        That would generally be called obstruction of justice, which would expose individuals inside Google to the possibility of spending some time in a Brazilian jail. If a court of law has asked you for information, it's illegal to destroy it.

        They would have to prove you distroyed it interntionally. You know, hard drives crash, backup routines fail for mechanical and human error reasons... /me hides gasoline can
  • I think the reason Google isn't releasing the data is because it would open up a new wound for them. The last thing they want is people in other countries thinking that Google not only collects private data on them, but will release it at the drop of a hat to aviod a long and complicated law suit. They're trying to protect their intregity with this move. I think its a good thing, in this day and age, we don't need more companys like Verizon, Bellsouth, and AT&T giving away our personal information to th
  • It's difficult to live up to "Don't be evil.". On one hand protecting users' privacy fits in well with this but on the other taking actions to protect those who clearly aim to do the complete opposite of this doesn't seem to live up to this lofty principle.
  • China? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Why did then the "oh-so-dont-do-evil-company" comply with China's demand of removing search results... wtf..
  • by reflector (62643) on Saturday September 30, 2006 @10:09PM (#16262555)
    ...that's a lot of orkut users!
  • the problem is: the Brazilian prosecutors subpoened Google's Brazilian office.

    the Brazilian office doesn't have access to the data stored in the servers, based in the USA. Google's brazilian office is a law firm, probably there are no techies there.

    when the brazilian prosecutors present their request properly to Google in USA the data will be handed over. It has been done before:

    http://www.computerworld.com/action/article.do?com mand=viewArticleBasic&articleId=9003739&intsrc=new s_ts_head [computerworld.com]
  • First, I have no pity for the child porn distributors. Theoretically it could be very borderline material, but it is probably terribly vile stuff that requires long prison sentences.

    The hate speech issue on the other hand is very serious. What is determined to be hate speech in this situation? Is it calling for the genocide of a particular group or is it an offensive joke? Who gets to make a call on this? If someone from Brazil states that affirmative action should be overturned, are they committing a
    • by protomala (551662)
      If you just take the brazilian law, all ways of racism are a crime.
      But as it's a case-by-case situation, and a judge have to study it, only in flagrant cases - for example, when being stopped by a policeman black saying that he's doing this because he is a dirty black pig, what is a crime in most countries anyway - or when involving planning actions against someone or a group - like for example "let's meet at sunday after the soccer game to hit all those yellow-bastards - are being taking in care.

      But yes,

  • It is very simple (Score:2, Insightful)

    by franksands (938435)
    • Racism and child pornography are crimes in Brazil.
    • The subjects who the Brazilian goverment are after are in Brazilian territory.
    • Denying this information so the Brazilian police can prosecute these criminals is obstruction of justice, which is a crime.

    So no, they are not preserving user rights, they are preventing the investigation to go forward.

  • Google maintains that it is open to requests for information from foreign governments as long as the requests comply with U.S. laws and that they are issued within the country where the information is stored

    SWIFT process the majority of fund transfers in and out of the EU.

    I wish that SWIFT had acted the same way as Google. Instead they gave the US govt full access to their entire database. SWIFT is a Belgian company, and the Belgian government's investigation into the matter said that SWIFT broke Belgian (a
  • Just to make things a bit clear:
    Most messages here are saying brazilian authorities are seeking data because of hate-pages. This isn't the true!
    Living here in Brazil I can tell that the Public Ministery i(prossecutors) are looking against pages like scheduling meetings to hit or kill people during football (aka soccer) games, traffic using orkut to sell drugs, defending people who comits crimes - there was even a community for raising funds to free a drug dealer from prison with 1 million reais - child po

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