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Google's Brazilian Test

By - September 04, 2006

Christrio

Earlier this month the news broke that Brazilian officials have demanded very specific information on suspected criminals who have been using Google’s Orkut service (it’s very popular in Brazil, who knows why…).

Google’s initial defense was to say that the data in question was stored in the US (both quotes from the first link, a Reuters story):

Google officials in Brazil have said all clients’ data is stored on a server in the United States and is subject to U.S. laws, which makes it impossible for them to reveal the data in Brazil. They also said the local affiliate only deals in marketing and sales and has nothing to do with Orkut.

But a Brazilian judge disagreed:



“The fact that the data are stored in the United States has no relevance as all the photographs and messages investigated by the prosecutors’ office were published by Brazilians using Internet connections on the national territory,” the judge said in his ruling.

I find this interesting because it might potentially set a standard for other international cases where data is stored in the US but originates in what we might call less than democratic countries – China comes to mind. And lo and behold, today brings news that Google bowed to pressure and will provide the data to Brazil.

One of the first to cover the story is the People’s Daily in China. A banner day, for them.

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5 thoughts on “Google's Brazilian Test

  1. Petter says:

    I find this interesting because it might potentially set a standard for other international cases where data is stored in the US but originates in what we might call less than democratic countries

    The reverse is equally interesting – the cases where data is stored in countries that protect the rights and privacy of users better than the US does. This is not hypothetic: I am personally involved with developing a service that will be offered to US users, but where we are looking into having the data stored in Europe or Canada. Why? To protect US users from government transgressions under the PATRIOT act.

  2. Trogdor says:

    Thank you, Search Engines WEB; that comment was very insightfully related to this topic, and your analysis of things is, as always, quite apt. Good job!

  3. P says:

    There’s been an interesting development with Orkut in India.

    http://www.ibnlive.com/news/warning-orkutting-can-turn-ugly/21144-3.html

    The last part of the article talks of Google handing over information ‘very fast’ on the perpetrators of the crime. Thought it might be interesting in the context of Brazil and Orkut.

  4. Mario says:

    Oh, thanks for posting my last comment on the topic, John… this is a really open forum (can you see me rolleing my eyes?).

    Cheers.

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