Pakistan Cyber Force: Google’s Brazil Chief Detained; Court Bans Anti-Islam Video

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Pakistan Cyber Force [Official]

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Google’s Brazil Chief Detained; Court Bans Anti-Islam Video

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SÃO PAULO, Brazil—The country’s Federal Police detained the head of Google Inc.’s Brazilian operations after the company failed to act on an electoral judge’s order to remove videos from its YouTube site criticizing a candidate in a rural state election. Separately, a Brazilian judge ordered Google to remove versions of the “Innocence of the Muslims” video that has sparked deadly riots across the Middle East from Brazilian YouTube within 10 days or face fines. The ruling was in response to a suit brought by a group called the National Union of Islamic Entities, according to court documents.

Google is no stranger to legal challenges to content on its video website. But the twin cases in Brazil may also shine light on the South American nation’s sometimes freewheeling legal system, which has garnered more attention as Brazil’s role in global business grows. The head of Chevron Corp.’s Brazil unit was threatened with arrest and his passport confiscated after a small leak at a Chevron well this year, for example.

Legal analysts say neither Google nor any Chevron executives are likely to set foot in jail in the cases. Experts say Brazil’s appeals process is long and even officials convicted of major white collar crimes are rarely, if ever, jailed. But such jail-time threats could eventually damp enthusiasm for Brazil, even as the country seeks to attract the globe’s blue chip companies, some analysts said. Google, for example, is building offices in one of Brazil’s most expensive buildings in downtown São Paulo.

In the electoral case, Police said Google’s Fabio Jose Silva Coelho was taken to a station in São Paulo, where he gave a deposition and promised to appear at future court dates. They said Mr. Coelho would be released since he wasn’t accused of a major crime. The authorities were acting on a warrant issued by an electoral judge Tuesday. The charge carries the possibility of a year in jail.
After the warrant was issued, Google said it planned an appeal on the grounds that it is not responsible for the content uploaded by users of YouTube. Google didn’t immediately comment further Wednesday.

In the video case, a separate judge said Google will be fined 10,000 Brazilian reais ($4,926) per day if it doesn’t comply with his order. Still, the judge acknowledged the complexity of policing videos on YouTube. The case “creates a clear conflict between freedom of expression and the need to protect individuals and groups against protests that could induce or incite religious discrimination,” the judge said in his decision.

WSJ

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