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Brazilian Justice Threatens to Shut Down Orkut and Google Brazil This Month

Orkut Brazil Orkut, Google's social networking site, which draws more than half of its members from Brazil, was charged by São Paulo's state prosecutor with spreading messages carrying racist, pedophilic and homophobic content. A prosecutor is asking the Brazilian justice to close the site in Brazil.

On October 27, Brazilian authorities said that the whole Google subsidiary in Brazil might be closed if the company is unable to control what is disseminated by Orkut.  

Robert Ménard, the general-secretary of the France-based press freedom organization Reporters Without Borders, sent a letter to Rodrigo César Rebello Pinho, São Paulo state's prosecutor, asking him to take into consideration the safeguard of freedom of speech on November 13, when an attempt at conciliation between the Brazilian judicial authorities and Google's Brazilian subsidiary is due to take place.

The RSF letter reads as follows:

Dear State Prosecutor,

Reporters Without Borders is worried about the Brazilian judicial system's decisions as regards online regulation. You have called for Orkut's closure because of content that allegedly encourages violence, pornography and pedophilia, and you are in the process of getting Google Brazil to suspend all online activities if it does not hand over the user details of those suspected of writing and updating this content.

Google is refusing to surrender its clients' personal data on the grounds that this would violate privacy and freedom of speech. Our organization is fully aware that in the eyes of the judicial authorities, Google's cooperation would enable them to arrest criminals and it is very important to them.

In a report on online pedophilia in 2005, SaferNet, a Brazilian NGO that monitors the Internet, said that 45,000 Internet pages were violating human rights and that 93.7 per cent of them were on Orkut. Currently, there are more than 19,000 pages dedicated to child porn, according to the NGO.

Reporters Without Borders asks you to give Google and its Brazilian subsidiary time to review the alert mechanisms that detect online abusive content and their procedures for deciding to release the personal data of clients suspected of serious crimes. Google is bound by US law, which protects personal information in order to prevent improper surveillance. Its Brazilian subsidiary's ability to hand over the requested data is therefore restricted.

It is only by being regulated that the Internet can continue to be a place for free expression. It is true that nowadays it is not very clear where online regulation ends and control begins. You should bear in mind that 858 online communities and 2,046 users have already been removed from Orkut, thanks to Google. In 2006, the firm said it would "remove all content that praises racism, pedophilia or homophobia".

Brazil is not an "Internet enemy" and it has always succeeded in managing online activity democratically. Orkut's size is significant. The closure of such a large social network would harm online free expression as much as the dissemination of racist, homophobic and pedophilic messages does. The decision you take on  November 13 will set a judicial precedent. That is why we ask you to safeguard free expression and personal data.

We trust you will give this matter your careful consideration.

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  • Show Comments (20)

  • João da Silva

    Shelly
    [quote]Well said my friend!!!! [/quote]

    Simpleton is a good friend of ours and he is a good natured and hard working person.A good lad to have by your side, when you are in a fix. No complaints about Simpleton.

  • Shelly

    Simpleton
    hire these kids and or down trodden mothers, pocket the other BRL5 and then have them sneak the accumulation stashed in teddy bears back to your secret accounts via all those Swiss visa-less routes?

    Well said my friend!!!! 😉

  • Shelly

    ohh, philosophy man…
    I want to see your opinion if your kid falls victim to abuse, I love this sort of behavior where people are very liberal, until shit hits home.

  • Shelly

    On Philosophy
    To Expat in Australia,

    You have touched a nerve!

    Let’s not allow bad experience to kill off freedom of information. Either in the real world or in the cyber space it is not possible
    to protect our children from bad people. It is important for children, adult, any individual to know what is right and what is wrong. What did happen to our study of philosophy? We need to know how to think independently otherwise we always rely on other people’s opinion and adopt them as ours.

    First of all, I have studied Philosophy and some of it is applicable and others are just impractical in today’s day and age. Your assumptions are sophmoric. The basis of your judgement is that “is important for children, adult, any individual to know what is right and what is wrong”, but if you really know philosophy, you should know that we know what is right and wrong because it is intrinsic in us. However, I disagree because some people commit horrible crimes, even thout they are mallum in se. So do they know right from wrong? Were they born with the capacity to judge good and evil?

    Since you went on this track, you know that theories of Divine law, natural law and human law.I should let you know that I have read Aristotle, Summa Teologica and Saint Augustine the City of God, from which the Theory of Just War was developed and applied in many countries, including the US. You say that we all should know what is right and wrong, but if you know Saint Thomas Aquinas, has agreed with Aristotle that we need human law, because we are fallible. Since we are fallible, the Divine law and natural law ,which both are the same, is intrisic in us because we partake in it. But why do we need the human law if we have in us Divne and Natural? Are we the image of God?
    The human act is performe counciously, freely and for a purpose. Therefore, as you have said, we should know what is right and wrong, in essence moral acts are the same as human acts. Going back to our discussion to stop this senseless abuse, I don’t care if it is done by Brazilians or foreigners, since human acts are voluntary ordering and it has ultimate end, I will say that we need the human law, legislation to stop the abuse of children, because the ultimate goal of child abusers is to subject children to humiliation and it violates their rights as a human being.

  • Simpleton

    ch.C. invest?
    “YOUR children because it cost NOTHING, or at best BRL 10.- for a BJ”

    Carefull there fella, you are again in danger of loosing your louted position in facts and statistics. If you could manage pt-BR even half as badly as you do english you could have perused the more mainstream Brazillian “news” organizations here recently and discovered that apparently many “programmas” can be had for only BRL 5. What are you up to? Do you and your countrymates hire these kids and or down trodden mothers, pocket the other BRL5 and then have them sneak the accumulation stashed in teddy bears back to your secret accounts via all those Swiss visa-less routes?

  • João da Silva

    Brasileiro in Australia
    [quote]also after our first democratic election with Tancredo Neves and this motto “Diretas Ja”.[/quote]

    Mate, you are indeed ignorant of Brazilian history. I didn’t know that Tancredo was elected democratically and thanks for telling us so.

    [quote]Tancredo Neves and this motto “Diretas Ja”[/quote]

    Tancredo and “Diretas Ja”. LMAO. You must have got too much sun in the outbacks. I hope you know the name of the PM of Australia.

    No wonder why the Brasilians are called “People with short memory” and I suppose our ex-pats in Australia are no exception.

    BTW, your comment was a good one for a Monday evening.

  • forrest allen brown

    turn over the child porn
    all Google would have to do is serch its sites and then place name with IP and cep then turn over to interpol
    to do the dead as dont trust brasilian police could be a buddie or a friend of a high goverment offical
    then they would be lost or let go but if it was interpol made the arest and papers then i would trust
    in the law .

    but to give brasil a free hand to cull through the files NONONONONONO

    as shelly said take the compute out of the kids rooms place in the TV room
    and just take the mouse with you or power cord when you leave .
    check your history and chache them knock them out if you find porn or bad things .

  • ch.c.

    Hey bunch of paedophils !!!!! Where are you ????????
    and when I am telling that children sex prostitution or children sex …IS BRAZILIAN….AND NOT FOREIGNERS AS WE OFTEN READ…….I AM GETTING INSULTS !!!!!
    Correct ??????
    95 % OR MORE BRAZILIAN CHILDREN SEX PROSTITUTION IS….DOMESTIC, BUT YOU FINGERPOINT REGULARLY THE FOREIGN ROUTES !!!!
    Correct ?????
    When I wrote that ADITAL these bunches of junkies, are lying, lying, cheating cheating and hiding. Well, I prove it to you that they even distort reports made by Pestraf !!!!!
    Correct ????????

    And now just another proof, on the above article :
    “In a report on online pedophilia in 2005, SaferNet, a Brazilian NGO that monitors the Internet, said that 45,000 Internet pages were violating human rights and that 93.7 per cent of them were on Orkut. Currently, there are more than 19,000 pages dedicated to child porn, according to the NGO.”

    Where are you brazilians rapists, children’s abusers ??????

    Why do you constantly fingerpoint foreigners and not accuse your own citizens ?

    Do you prefer to have sex with YOUR children because it cost NOTHING, or at best BRL 10.- for a BJ ??????

    Shame on you Simpleton, the guest and whoever !

    Yesssss…..stop cheating,cheating, cheating, lying, lying, liyng and hiding, hiding the sad truth !

    Brazilians are the worst on earth !
    Brazil is a shame to humanity !
    Brazil is a Tropical Mud and a medieval country.

    And YOU the Brazilian society are not any better than the ones you vote for : ALL ARE CORRUPTED TO THE ROOTS AND ALL ARE FILTHY !!!!! And your constitution and laws have been written on used toilet papers ! Foreigners must abide by them, NOT YOU.
    TOTAL IMPUNITY GUARANTEED !!!!!!
    Most of your politicians, judges and celebrities have sex with minors…..AND YOU COPY THEM !
    Of course, they are your leaders, the ones you envy.

    And you really expect that ONE developed country will ever vote for you to join the Security Councel at the UN ???

    Lets face it, the developed nations should boycott and ban ALL BRAZILAINS GOODS !!!

  • Brasileiro in Australia

    Please don’t kill our freedom of speech at birth
    Let’s not allow bad experience to kill off freedom of information. Either in the real world or in the cyber space it is not possible
    to protect our children from bad people. It is important for children, adult, any individual to know what is right and what is wrong. What did happen to our study of philosophy? We need to know how to think independently otherwise we always rely on other people’s opinion and adopt them as ours. Ethics and morality is not the same thing and the difference between them is very important to know, otherwise we would have a Brazilian state run by the church.
    In Brazil freedom of information is a very new experience after the government of President Figueredo and also after our first democratic election with Tancredo Neves and this motto “Diretas Ja”. Do you remember this motto? I believe that cyberspace will be a place where people will have their voice heard by politicians. In many countries like Australia politicians use the Internet to comunicate to their electorate. In Brazil to be a candidate is still very expense and it is not accessable to everyone.

    The main protection against pedophilia is education: by that I mean prepare and education our children to avoid pedophilia on the internet, but it is also important to let them know that this kind of people is there. The advantage of being in cyberspace is that there is no physical contact at first instance so education is a key element against phedophilia.

  • A Brazilian

    Refusing to give personal data on the grounds of “freedom of speech” is idiotic because there’s a huge difference between freedom of speech and pedophilia.

    If Google can’t do simple things to protect the users against such things then it is good for it to close its doors in Brazil and lock the access to Orkut for Brazilian users for good.

  • forrest Brown

    wicht hunting
    yes stop the child porn , at the same time stop the soccor clubs from printing there secugals with nude women and passing them out in middle schools .

    WHAT WORRIES ME is the justice using the address to go after free thinkers that produce pic & articles fo
    crooked cops and fedreal employees , doing ileagle & chrimes aguenst the people of brasil .

    next book burnings , mostley law books , and evdence on them

    also they will just move to another site

  • Márcio Osório

    De fato, assim como IRC, o Orkut vai caindo — se antes disso jÀƒ¡ nÀƒ£o caiu — de moda
    [b]… mas quem nÀƒ£o dÀƒ¡ uma chegadinha lÀƒ¡, hein?! :P[/b]

  • Jussara Lima

    BOBEAR NO ORKUT EH COISA DE PASSADO, A MODA AGORA EH NAMORAR COM CUIDADO
    ORKUT JA ERA. HOJE EM DIA SO TEM PORCARIA LA. LAMENTAVEL. 😥

  • shelly

    Joao
    Parents are responsible for what their kids see. My family didn’t allow us to see the Carnaval parade as children, for obvious reasons. I can say it that I have seen it a couple of times, as an adult, and have no intentions to see it again. Children need to be protected from pornography and violence, and we do not allow violent movies or cartoons in our house. I am glad to see that the satellite dishes are giving some sort of parental control, it is about time. I feel that the kids are given negative messages about sex or being sexual. Some kids dress way too sexy for their age, it is the GLOBO culture of glamorizing sex and no social moral values.

  • shelly

    aes
    Absolute freedom does not exist in public mediums. There are consequences to violating these social mores.

    you said it all! I agree with you 100%, if they cannot control what goes on, them the state has to do it. Orkut did not want to give the details of its account users, therefore they are villains. India is also thinking about pulling the plug.

  • João da Silva

    [quote]Unless, our distinguished fellow bloggers have something to the contrary. [/quote]

    Sorry, I meant to say: Unless, our distinguished fellow bloggers have something TO SAY to the contrary.

  • João da Silva

    [quote]On October 27, Brazilian authorities said that the whole Google subsidiary in Brazil might be closed if the company is unable to control what is disseminated by Orkut. [/quote]

    They may close the Google subsidiary in Brasil rendering the Brasilian employees jobless.

    [quote]Orkut, Google’s social networking site, which draws more than half of its members from Brazil,[/quote]

    Orkut really did not discover Brasil, but the Brasilian users discovered Orkut to express their opinions freely.

    [quote]I am all for freedom of expression, however I cannot and will not accept racist, pedophilia or homophobic messages.[/quote]

    I agree with this statement. But what are we doing to prevent our TV networks from transmitting obscene programs during the day time or prime time? For instance, for 4 straight days, the Carnival at Rio gets transmitted to the entire country and the kids can watch it. I wouldn’t exactly call it educative.So what are we doing to filter such programs. Of course I forgot to tell you: The new TV sets facilitate the blocking access to selected channels . i.e; the parents are responsible to choose the channels which should be blocked.

    For me Google and Orkut being made villains doesn’t make any sense at all. Unless, our distinguished fellow bloggers have something to the contrary.

  • aes

    Symantec: The Trojan Horse of Pedophilia
    The internet is merely another medium. You cannot publish in print pedophilia photography or literature. And you cannot publish online on the internet the same photography or literature. The criminality is the same in both media. It is the responsibility of Orkut-Google to bar publication of such egregous criminality. If Orkut cannot or will not censor itself then it must be given the solution to its problem of control. Pulling the plug. With all of the cyber capacity to infect systems with viruses and trojan horses and the consequential development of such sophisticated firewalls as Symantec to block and identify such threats, Google should be able with little effort to identify and block these publications. Absolute freedom does not exist in public mediums. There are consequences to violating these social mores. It is not the responsibility of the state to abet, to facilitate the publication of criminality; to do so is to commit a crime. Youtube has a similar problem. It constantly polices its site and identifies and removes the offending material. Google and Orkut can certainly accomplish this. The financial motivation for them to find a solution is self-evident.

  • shelly

    We need to regulate certain things, we as a society cannot allow those who cannot defend themselves to be abused because you love your freedom.

    I am thinking about children, even in the US they have more protection under the law. Now, hate crime is hard to legislate on, anyone on the internet can say hateful words about a race, sexual orientation or religion. It is not a crime, therefore it is protected by the first amendment (US). Orkut has to delete and close accounts containing pedophilia material, such as photo etc. However, they cannot delete messages, as no crime has been committed.

  • shelly

    judicial decision
    I am all for freedom of expression, however I cannot and will not accept racist, pedophilia or homophobic messages. Your freedom of expression ends, where my rights have been violated. Simple. If we all though it in this manner, we would not need regulation. We need to regulate certain things, we as a society cannot allow those who cannot defend themselves to be abused because you love your freedom.

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