Does Brazil Have It In for Google?

By Steve Bryant  |  Posted 2006-08-23 Print this article Print

Reuters has a story today about Brazillian authorities filing for permission to sue Google, alleging the company is withholding user info required for a criminal investigation.

Brazilian authorities want Google to turn over info from Orkut, the G Poppa's social networking site, which Brazil believes is being used for organized crime and child pornography.

The prosecutors want Google to pay about $61 million and, if the company refuses to hand over the info, for Google's Brazillian unit to be dissolved.

Google's continuing difficulties in Brazil highlight the difficulties facing the search and advertising giant as its applications are adopted in other countries, which enforce differing sets of legal standards. Google has run up against those different standards with Agence France Presse, Louis Vuitton, and censorship issues in China.

Brazil first approached Google over crime and child porn problems starting in March. In May, continuing to work with police. A few drug pushers using Orkut were arrested in July. Orkut has also suffered from hacker attacks on users' bank accounts.

Google announced today that it has joined two industry initiatives to combat child pornography: The Technology Coalition and the Financial Coalition Against Child Pornography. The initiatives are funded with The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC).

P.S. Google isn't the only company having problems in Brazil. Last year, Microsoft started promoting a Portugese version of Windows XP in Brazil, but the country's government is unabashedly pro-open source. MS has since started a few trials in Brazil, but I'm told it's very slow-going.

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