Friday, September 08, 2006

Google Carves a Middle Ground on Privacy

Andrew Downie writes on

Google's corporate motto is "Don't be evil."

But the Internet search-engine company recently found itself defending the privacy of alleged pedophiles and racists against São Paulo's attorney general.

The Brazilian government wanted the names of suspected criminals using Google's "Orkut," the most popular social networking site (think MySpace or Facebook) in Brazil.

The nasty fight pitting two powerful and implacable sides against each other climaxed last Thursday with a judge's order: Hand over the data or face a daily fine of $900,000. Google has complied. In doing so, the company moved a step closer to establishing a global legal precedent on how Internet firms cooperate - or not - with government requests for information about Web users. It's a contentious issue that involves principles of personal privacy, political and commercial free speech, and fighting crime - be it pornography, pedophilia, racism, or terrorist plots.

More here.


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