Source AP ©

Google's Brazilian subsidiary not to provide information about criminals

Google's Brazilian subsidiary is not going to provide information about users accused of using the company's Orkut social networking service to spread child pornography and hate speech.

Prosecutor Sergio Gardenghi Suiama said that while Google has eliminated the users from Orkut groups, the company still refuses to release their information so that Brazilian authorities can pursue them.

"In some cases Google has not even preserved the evidence we need to file charges against the pedophiles that use the Internet to spread their ideas," Suiama said.

Microsoft Corp. and Yahoo Inc. have provided user information in similar cases, Suiama told a news conference.

"Google's attitude is ensuring the impunity of pedophiles and perpetrators of hate crimes and shows they are only motivated by profits and are ignoring their social responsibility to Brazilian laws and society," he said.

Google's Brazilian subsidiary and its attorneys did not immediately respond to the prosecutor's comments.

Suima added that if a federal judge handling the case determines that Google's Brazilian subsidiary must turn over the information, Google will have to comply or face daily fines and even the closure of the company's Brazilian operations.

"We don't want that to happen, we want to reach an agreement," he said.

It was not clear when the judge would issue the final ruling.

Suiama said Google claims it is bound by U.S. laws that guarantee the freedom of speech, "which is why they have not given us the information we need to go after these who use the Internet to spread racial hatred and neo-Nazi propaganda."

He said "Google's subsidiary should be bound by the laws of Brazil, where spreading any kind of hate is a crime."

Last year Google Inc. appealed a federal judge's order to turn over Orkut users' numeric Internet addresses, which can help identify them. The company argued that the federal civil court did not have the proper authority.

Brazilian prosecutors have been struggling with Google's claims that requests should be handled by Google Inc. in the United States, not its Brazilian affiliate. Both sides have debated whether information stored on computers in the United States should be subject to Brazilian or U.S. law.

Named after Turkish software engineer Orkut Buyukkokten, the service lets members discuss a wide range of subjects in Internet forums, or "communities." With some 8 million users - about a quarter of all Brazilians who have Internet access - it is more popular in Brazil than in any other country.