Brazil Sues Twitter Over Police Checkpoint Tweets

The Brazilian government has sued Twitter to remove certain posts over claims that some users have posted information regarding the location and duration of roadblocks and checkpoints.

On Monday, the suit was filed in a Federal Court in Goias by the Attorney General's Office. The government is seeking fines of $290,000 for each day that Twitter and its users fail to comply with the order.

This lawsuit comes just weeks after Twitter announced that it would censor content on a country by country basis should a request be made.

"We haven't yet used this ability, but if and we are required to withhold a tweet in a specific country, we will attempt to let the user know, and we will clearly mark when the content has been withheld," read a post on Twitter's blog on Jan. 26.

"It looks like Twitter built it, and they came," said Eva Galperin, an activist with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which defends free speech and privacy online.

The government claimed in the suit that when users disclose the location of police checkpoints that those individuals as well as those responsible for facilitating the actions are breaking the law and "directly endangering life, safety and property."

Attorneys for the government state that other than lowering the number of accidents, checkpoints set up by transit police "serve to combat other serious crimes, such as car theft, the transport of illegal weapons and drug trafficking," read a statement from the Attorney General's Office.

Late last month, the San Francisco-based company said that it would start to remove users' tweets in countries that require it, but it would keep the deleted tweets available for the rest of Twitter users.

"One of our core values as a company is to defend and respect each user's voice," Twitter wrote in a blog entry. "We try to keep content up wherever and whenever we can, and we will be transparent with users when we can't. The tweets must continue to flow."

There has been no comment from Twitter as of yet.