Google Turns Over Data on Suspected Pedophiles to Brazillian Authorities

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On Wednesday, Google turned over approximately 3,261 files to a Brazilian senate commission charged with looking into allegations that illegal images of minors were posted in restricted-access photo albums on Google’s Orkut social networking site.  In turning over the data on suspected pedophiles, Google gave into the pressure to lift their confidentiality duty to its users.

In terms of social networking sites, within Brazil, Orkut is by far the post popular choice.  It beats out rivals MySpace and Facebook, and about 27 million of Orkut’s 60 million members hail from the country of Brazil.

Orkut has been suspected as being an online gathering spot for pedophiles and child predators, and the Brazilian government claims to have received over 50,000 allegations of pedophilia in recent years, 90% of which they say are related to Orkut.

Demostenes Torres, a member of the senate commission, said that he believes that Google’s information will help to incriminate around 200 pedophiles.

Google met with Brazilian authorities on Wednesday to strike the deal that will see the hand-over of information.  In the past, Google had been threatened with both criminal and civil lawsuits if theyd id not comply and release the data.

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  • Joshua Steimle

    From Google’s terms and conditions:

    We have a good faith belief that access, use, preservation or disclosure of such information is reasonably necessary to (a) satisfy any applicable law, regulation, legal process or enforceable governmental request, (b) enforce applicable Terms of Service, including investigation of potential violations thereof, (c) detect, prevent, or otherwise address fraud, security or technical issues, or (d) protect against imminent harm to the rights, property or safety of Google, its users or the public as required or permitted by law.

    I’m not a lawyer, nor do I play one on TV, but I believe what this paragraph says is that Google reserves the right to turn over to legal authorities any information they want to if it’s requested of them. To say that “Google gave into the pressure to lift their confidentiality duty to its users” is to assign to them a duty that may exist in the collective consciousness but which has no basis in their published terms and conditions or privacy policy and therefore if Google were to NOT turn over this information they would be in violation of their own policy, and if they don’t keep their own policy then that would seem to be in violation of a much larger and more important duty.

    Now, if you want to claim that Google has a duty to change their terms and conditions to say “We’ll never share your personal information no matter what.” then that’s another matter.