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April 12th, 2008

Google To Open Suspect Orkut Albums To Brazil Police

Google might allow Brazilian police to access 3,261 private photo albums on social networking website Orkut, which may contain child pornography. This move is part of a strategy announced by the head of the company in Brazil, Alexandre Hohagen, to a Senate Committee set up to investigate cases of paedophilia in the country. In the last two years nearly 90 percent of the 56,000 complaints in Brazil about net-based paedophilia were linked to the website. Until September 2007, all requests for information about users suspected of crimes such as racism or paedophilia were sent to Google US to be examined.

Every time abuse is reported within Orkut, the administrators must immediately delete the images, destroying the proofs. The company is working on a collaboration between Brazilian authorities and the US organization.

The private photo albums, considered by some as a safe haven for criminals, were introduced in November 2007, and allow users to block access to the pictures by anyone outside their direct network. They were created to protect the privacy of those who didn’t want personal pictures to be seen by anyone and it is being well used by the majority of the users. Google apparently has no plans to disable this option.

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