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.