back to article Brazil sues Twitter over police checkpoint tweets

Twitter should be more proactive in blocking tweets about police checkpoints, according to the Brazilian Attorney, who reckons a daily fine of R$500,000 ($290,000) will get the company moving. If the injunction, lodged with the Federal Court of Goiás, is successful, then Twitter will be obliged to suspend accounts which warn …


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  1. Danny 14 Silver badge

    not really

    why do people suddenly think that just because it is the internet they can say what they wish. What would happen if they stood on a street corner giving the same information?

    1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      @not really

      They probably would get arrested.

      But I doubt the corner shop owner would be fined massively for not policing "his" pavement.

    2. magnetik

      @Danny 14

      Right, so if your missus phoned you while you were driving home one day and said "careful when you get to XYZ road, there's a speed trap there" you'd be okay with her being arrested and jailed for sharing that information?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @magnetik - Dura lex sed lex

        Roughly translated, if you don't like the law, don't break it.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          How about

          If you don't like a law, arrange civil disobedience and mass protests until it gets changed.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          dura lex sic indiges durex

          That translation is pretty much bunk. "The law is harsh, but it's the law" at least implies that there is a reason the law is harsh. You, on the other hand, seem to've botched transforming this into the old "if you can't do the time, don't do the crime". Which is something else entirely.

          Anyway, these actions are rather more likely to trigger the Streisand effect, while at the same time driving up the cost of being a service provider within Brazil, stifling innovation. You know, the chilling effect and all that. That is, two unwanted effects for no remedy to the problem. Carry on Brazilian law enforcement.

          1. Mark 65

            "Carry on Brazilian law enforcement"

            Have the team reformed? I thought half of them were dead.

      2. This post has been deleted by its author

  2. Anonymous Coward 15

    We can't have people deciding

    not to break the law because they heard there are cops about, can we?

  3. magnetik


    Don't kill the messenger.

    Twitter is just a means of information exchange, if people didn't tweet about locations of police checkpoints they'd do it via some other means - SMS, email, NNTP, whatever. It's time for governments to grow up and realise they can't prevent people exchanging information.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Oh I dunno; it seems to me that theocracies and certain communist states are doing rather well in this regard.

      And the big internet companies seem happy to help them...

  4. Colin Millar

    Merkins have more than 1 pov shock horror

    Demanding freedom of speech AND deporting people for making jokes

    In a country of only 300m+ people so famed for its homogeneity - I am shocked to the very roots of my fundament.

    1. peyton?

      Yeah that bit left me puzzled too

      I never can understand how a person can take one group - in this case DHS - and apply it to the entire population of a country. DHS isn't even an elected group.

      Show of hands on how many Brits would like the BNP to be randomly selected as the group du jour to represent them.

      But then Bill refers to us as septics, so I think he has an axe to grind anyway. (and spare me the 'tis but innocent cockney rhyming slang' bs)

    2. Notas Badoff
      Big Brother

      He's pure as the driven snow

      I'm sure that that Raze utterance must've been tongue-in-cheek, as we've seen silly both sides'a th'pond. Anyone for making "serious public terrorist threats of mass destruction" ... due to snow?

  5. BristolBachelor Gold badge

    Family Guy ?

    "Homeland Security just deported two UK tourists for making jokes and quoting Family Guy

    Well, they should've watched American Dad instead, and then they would've been prepared :)

  6. JoshOvki


    It is lucky I am not in charge of such a big business such as Twitter, otherwise I would respond with a screw you and block all IPs for that country.

    1. Bakunin

      "It is lucky I am not in charge of such a big business such as Twitter, otherwise I would respond with a screw you and block all IPs for that country."

      And that is exactly why you're not in charge of such a big business.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Stamp out legal activity immediately.

    Where would we be if people started obeying the law?

    What would politicians boast/scare us about then?

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "but harder to justify when it's the location of a breathalyser-testing point."

    Surely the only people avoiding such traps would be drunk drivers.... don't suppose you mind them driving around where you live, running over your kids?

    1. JimC Silver badge

      I'm sure there are plenty of people round here

      Who would argue that some drugs do less damage than drunk drivers...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


    2. moiety

      Why are you assuming that you need to be doing something wrong to want to avoid a roadblock? It takes time and exposes you to an increased threat of something unpleasant happening. Even if your car, papers and driving are all flawless; the police can always find something to spoil your day with if they are in the right (wrong) mood.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      poor example

      My grandmother was killed and grandfather injured by a group of teens that weren't avoiding a test point. It was Sunday afternoon and very nice out; the kind of day the police wouldn't really think to put a check point up at right after church. I really doubt that most drunks are going to take the time to see where the local check point because they're usually too damn lazy to find someone to take them home in the first place. We have police stationed before them, so if someone sees it from a distance and turns around, they still are caught.

      The reason these tweets exists is, aside from not wanting to be caught, because most people are tired of constant monitoring of bullshit aspects of their lives. There's no reason for cameras to catch speeders. An actual policaman is more than enough to stop the really bad offenders and let the rest of the 'bending the law' crowd go. As backwards as my state is at times, it's actually illegal to use cameras to catch speeders (good ol' S. Carolina).


      Considering this is Brazil, I'm doubting the police are shining examples of incorruptable government officials. They can be as bad as the criminals. And those good police probably work in departments already filled with those on 'the take', so if Twitter isn't used to inform the local criminal element , another electronic means will be. It's not like criminals have suddenly stopped being caught because Twitter came about.

      Secondly, Twitter isn't going to be able scan all tweets for certain key words. People will change their behaviour and use a euphemism if they're stuff is being censored.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      but police checkpoints are so fun

      Several years ago, I went through the same checkpoint four times in 30 minutes.

      I was working as a courier and the local police set up their license/registration/insurance checkpoint on the road between our office and one of our best customers.

      The first stop took five minutes as did the second one on the way back to the office. On the next delivery, about 15 minutes later, again, it took about 5 minutes...on the return trip they did actually just wave me through.

      20 minutes later, on my 3rd trip back, they were gone... I was so disappointed.

      On the other hand, I can remember going though one drunk-check while being severely in the bag.

      I don't do that any more because getting drunk and then going to jail is a waste of good alcohol.

  9. crowley


    "More acceptable was the threat of up to half-a-decade in prison for those posting information about police raids, which is fine when that information is about an incoming drugs bust, but harder to justify when it's the location of a breathalyser-testing point."

    As someone whose sister was killed with a car, I find it somewhat easier to sympathise with this.

    1. Mark 65

      Doesn't make it right though.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just curious

    Isn't the desired result to prevent crime? If so, why should it be criminal to warn other drivers about police speed traps since the end result of said warning is that drivers slow down and thus the crime of speeding is prevented.

    Or, is it true that the only function of speed traps is to fund the police ball at christmas?


    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Idiot ?

      The problem for the police is that Yes people might slow down but they will only do it for that one small point that they know. The idea of the "traps" is that people DON´T know where they are so they slow down in general.

      1. Mark 65

        Naivety in operation. Random speed traps that people don't know about doesn't stop them speeding, it just raises revenue. The only ones that get people (more often) to slow down are "average speed" cameras/traps and then that's only "on average" as Clarkson showed on Top Gear. There is no foolproof scheme as the tales of banned drivers driving away from court proves. Perhaps the concept of seizing and/or destroying their vehicle may help.

  11. Chuunen Baka

    SatNav speed cameras?

    I don't know how the SatNav makers get away with their "safety feature" of telling drivers where the speed cameras are. Seem obvious they're encouraging speeding between cameras.

    1. Stratman

      It's because they're not 'Speed Cameras', they're 'Safety Cameras', and as such are presumably located at accident black spots. By alerting drivers unfamiliar with the area to the self evident danger, they are providing a valuable road safety service.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Brazilian police can easily outsmart them

    Just flood Twitter with fake police checkpoint locations and have fun watching the populace looking for them. All this of course without losing the capacity to quickly install and dismantle those checkpoints somewhere else and successfully ambush those who disregard the laws.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How about

    If you don't like a law, start a petition and pass it to your MP. They normally pay attention to anything with over 100 people.

    Works a lot better than all the running around shouting that seems to be fashionable at the moment.

    1. magnetik

      Re: How about

      You're kidding right? Please, indicate one petition put up on the number 10 website that resulted in anything more than a generic "we understand your concerns and have taken the matter into consideration" type response. Some of those had tens of thousands of signatures but were basically ignored.

      The government doesn't take petitions seriously.

      1. Stuart Gepp


        ...I was watching episode 2 of the first series of Yes Minister last night and Bernard was explaining to Hacker that he could simply transfer all correspondence from his inbox to his outbox without needing to read any of it. The civil servants would then generate standard responses such as "we're considering the matter" or if they were feeling especially generous "we're actively considering the matter".

        He went on to explain the former meant "we've lost the file" and the latter meant "we've lost the file but we're looking for it"

        That was an amazingly insightful script written over 30 years ago.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    US Tweets - not inconsistent

    The idea of "I have the right to say anything I want" and the idea of "You said that, we don't want you here" are not inconsistent. I have the right to express myself, but that does NOT absolve me of the consequences of my speech. I have the right to say "Harleys suck dick as do their riders", but I probably ought not say so aloud in Sturgis, SD the first full week of August. I have the right to say "Monarchy is stupid, and so is the Queen", but I should expect to be flamed to holy hell here on The (BTW - neither of those hypothetical expressions of free speech are indeed my true feelings - Harleys are great, and the Queen is really a better human being than 90% of the so-call leaders out there).

    I support the right of all the Reg commentators to say whatever they wish, up to and including disparaging my country. I support my country's right to take that speech into account when they visit, just as I would expect England to take my speech into account when I visit. Freedom of speech does not imply freedom from all consequences of that speech.

    1. magnetik

      So basically you're saying while you should be allowed to say what you want, it's okay for the government to act like a bunch of crazed Hell's Angels if they find out that you said something they don't like?

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Does Brazil have Children's Band?

    Does Brazil have children's band (citizen's band, aka CFR47 part 95 around these parts)? Are truck drivers as active there as they are here on ch19? And does Brazil's equivalent of the FCC crack down on the mother truckers when they do the equivalent of "aaaaaahhhh there's a bunch of bars heya checkin' swindle sheets monback" (there are police here inspecting your transportation logs, please respond if copy).

  16. Lance 3

    Maybe the police should use it as well and spread false information. Say a checkpoint is someplace that it isn't.

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