Google Shares Information on Orkut Users in Child Pornography Investigation

Jeremy Spencer
BRASILIA, Brazil — On April 23, Google's Brazilian subsidiary handed over information on more than 3,000 of its users to a Brazilian Senate panel investigating pedophilia, according to CNN.

Google's communications director Felix Ximenes delivered a set of DVDs containing information on 3,261 users of the company's popular Orkut social-networking service for an investigation into the spread of child pornography on the site.

"With the information we have received, we will be able to strike a major blow against the pedophile network acting in the country," Brazilian Senator Demostenes Torres said. “The information contained in the Orkut albums are to be analyzed by prosecutors and federal police.”

“In the meantime, Google will use filters to prevent the spread of child pornography on Orkut,” Ximenes said.

Last August, federal prosecutors said Google failed to comply with requests to provide information about users who allegedly spread child pornography and hate speech against black people, Jews and homosexuals on Orkut.

Google eliminated the users from Orkut groups and until now have refused to release information about them to authorities, arguing it was bound by U.S. laws guaranteeing freedom of speech.

A Google spokesperson directed questions about why the company changed its position to the legal department, which could not be reached for comment.

"Google Brasil not only believes it is its obligation to collaborate with Brazilian authorities, but it has already been doing so spontaneously and proactively since the first signs of problems with Orkut were discovered about two years ago," Latin America spokesman Alberto Arebalos wrote in an email to The Associated Press.

About 55 percent of the 60 million-plus Orkut users worldwide are Brazilian.