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February 8, 2012

Brazil sues Twitter

It’s been less than two weeks since Twitter announced it would block tweets if they did not comply with government laws and Brazil has stepped up to the plate.

By Vinod

According to the news group, Oglobo, the Brazilian government has filed a lawsuit against Twitter in order to stop messages from being published on the site that alerts drivers about speed traps and drunk-driving checkpoints.

The Attorney General of Brazil, Luis Inacio Lucena Adams, filed a prefatory injunction to a federal court in the state of Goias, to suspend the accounts of all Twitter users who use the micro blogging site to warn others about DUI checkpoints and radar locations.


The government is calling for all related tweets to be blocked and claims that users warning about speed traps, DUI Checkpoints, and radar locations are putting others endanger by not allowing the police to do their jobs properly.

The Brazilian government also says that these users are breaking traffic and criminal codes. If the attorney general proves successful in the lawsuit, Twitter could be paying £183,000 for each day the social site does not adhere to the request.

There are several well known accounts that warn drivers in Brazil and one account, @LeiSecaRJ, has over 287,000 followers.

Another account @RadarBlitzGO, with 12,000 followers has already ended its account after the filing.

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The lawsuit follows just after Twitter announced it can block messages to satisfy local laws if requested by governments.

Twitter told CBR when it announced its censorship policy that "when we’re required to remove content we will post it to Chilling Effects so people know," but nothing relating to this particular case has been posted yet.

In our article about Twitter’s new censorship policy, Twitter spokesperson, Rachel Bremer told CBR:

"Our announcement is not at all about Twitter censoring tweets, or any kind of policy or philosophical change in how we feel about the importance of free expression. It simply means that when we are required by law to remove content from the site, we can do it on a granular, per country basis, rather than for the whole world. This will only happen in reaction to valid legal process,"

Twitter’s statement that censoring tweets will "happen in reaction to valid legal process," makes it seem more than likely that Twitter will comply with the request by the Brazilian government.


Please follow this author on Twitter @Tineka_S or comment below.

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