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Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Brazil Will Arrest Google Executive

Local elections court ordered the arrest of the search engine’s most senior executive in Brazil after he refused to remove YouTube videos that attacked one of the mayoral candidates.

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This wasn’t the first case of this kind. Earlier, a similar decision was delivered by another local election judge who decided that another CEO was liable for infringing local election legislation. However, the decision in question was overturned a week ago.

The search giant is making attempts not to get involved into the censorship game. As a result, rival religious groups started uploading videos that caused the others to riot. Press reports say that the local judge had ordered the arrest of Google’s top executive in the country, unless he takes down the videos attacking a mayoral candidate. In response, the search giant issued an official statement saying that it holds no responsibility for the material uploaded to its servers, so arrests of its executives wouldn’t change things.

It seems that Brazil likes to drag CEOs in court for misdeeds – this past March the country also filed criminal charges against Chevron and Transocean. The matter is that if Brazil did it with bankers the entire financial system might work.

In the meantime, public prosecutors have almost total independence to bring cases in the country with jail terms of over 30 years after last year’s oil spill. In the abovementioned lawsuit, judges want Google CEO liable for resisting the removal of the Internet material in violation of a stringent 1965 Electoral Code, which bans offensive campaign adverts towards another candidates.

However, another judge has recently overturned the order to arrest Google executive, claiming that the company isn’t actually the intellectual author of the content, nor it posted the video. So, Google can’t be held liable for its propagation.

At the same time, Brazilian court joined the rest of the world and banned an anti-Islam film which has caused violent protests throughout the globe. Brazil gave YouTube ten days to pull the movie’s trailer from its servers. We’ll see how this ends too. As for the movie, a judge ruled it was offensive and a violation of the constitutional right to freedom of religion. A few countries have already blocked YouTube for its refusal to remove the movie.

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