(AFX) - In an Aug. 31 story about Google Inc. being fined by Brazilian authorities for refusing to turn over information about users of its Orkut social networking service, The Associated Press erroneously reported the amount of the fine. It is $23,000 a day, not $23 million.
A corrected version of the story appears below.
RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (AP) -- A judge on Thursday ordered the Brazilian subsidiary of Google Inc. to turn over information on users of the company's social networking service Orkut or face daily fines of $23,000.
Federal Judge Jose Marcos Lunardelli gave Google Brazil 15 days to release information needed to identify individuals accused of using Orkut to spread child pornography and engage in hate speech against blacks, Jews and homosexuals.
Lunardelli's decision came after federal prosecutors charged that the company has ignored 38 court requests for the information.
'The documents presented demonstrate that Google Brazil has not complied with judicial orders,' Lunardelli said in his decision.
Officials at Google Brazil were not immediately available to comment.
But Google has argued its Brazil office handles only marketing and sales. In a statement last week, Google said it had asked a court 'to appoint an expert to independently verify that Google Brazil does not maintain Orkut.com user information.'
But Lunardelli dismissed that argument on Thursday, writing in his decision that 'it is not relevant that the data are stored in the United States, since all the photographs and messages being investigated were published by Brazilians, through Internet connection in national territory.'
Durval de Noronha, an attorney for Google Brazil, told reporters last week that the company 'is doing all it can to cooperate with the investigation' and that Google had complied with 15 of 19 requests for user information. The remaining four were being processed, de Noronha added.
De Noronha said all the requests had been addressed to Google Inc., and did not explain the discrepancy between his figures and the prosecutors'.
Named after Turkish software engineer Orkut Buyukkokten, Orkut is an invitation-only service run by Google that lets members discuss a wide range of subjects in Internet forums, or 'communities.'
The service is more popular in Brazil than in any other country, with some 8 million users -- representing about a quarter of all Brazilians who have Internet access.
In recent years, news reports have linked drug-dealing operations and organized fights between soccer fans to Orkut communities. One community allegedly advocated killing the president and planting a bomb in Congress.
Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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