Google, Brazil Lock Horns Over Social Networking Data

Google's presence in Brazil might be threatened by a dispute with that government's law enforcement agency over user data. Brazil's public attorney has filed suit against Google demanding information on users of its social networking site, Orkut, who are suspected of engaging in child pornography and other illegal activities.

Google has complied with some of the public attorney's requests, according to accounts, but the Brazilian government has threatened to close down its operations there if Google persists in holding back additional information.

This suit is the latest example of government agencies targeting search engine providers to obtain data that could aid prosecutions. Google's dispute with the U.S. Department of Justice earlier this year bore some similarity to the circumstances in this case. The search giant won a partial victory in that instance.

The Brazil case has additional implications that could impact cross-border e-commerce , at least between the United States and Brazil. Extraterritorial jurisdiction -- a government's right, or lack thereof, to exercise authority beyond its normal boundaries -- has been an issue lurking in the background ever since e-commerce began to gain momentum 10 years ago.

Like the question of a government's right to seize search engine data, extraterritorial jurisdiction has only been partially addressed through the years in various countries and courts.

News source: Tech News World

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