Google’s Orkut to Cough Up User Data

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They wouldn’t do it in their homeland, but Google’s coughin’ up the goods on users accused of wrongdoings to a Brazilian court. The firm risked a fine of $23,000 per day if it didn’t provide the court with data on users of its social networking site Orkut who are “accused of taking part in online communities that encourage racism, pedophilia and homophobia,” according to a Washington Post report (by way of Search Engine Journal). Apparently the judge wants IP addresses with date and time stamps that could be matched with registration info like names and e-mail addresses.

Google claims it’s OK with divulging the data because the request is far more specified compared to an earlier U.S. request for a broad swath of search engine data. Still, the fact that Orkut is pretty much off the radar of most U.S. consumers certainly makes it easier for the company to comply without raising much dander here (besides from watchdog groups like The Electronic Frontier Foundation and search industry insiders).

One question not answered by the article: what country’s citizens are under suspicion? Are we just talking Brazilian citizens, or people from other places? The Wash Post story notes that Brazilian users make up 75 percent of Orkut’s 17 million users.

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