updated 07:56 pm EDT, Thu September 27, 2012
Political video led to Google exec arrest
Google's Brazilian unit announced today that the company would be complying with a court order calling for Google to take down a YouTube video critical of a Brazilian mayoral candidate. The video had been the source of some conflict between the Brazilian court and the world's largest search engine, with the court ordering the arrest of a Google executive yesterday. Now, though, Reuters reports that Google will remove the video, though the company lamented it would not be afforded the opportunity to debate the free speech and expression implications of the controversy surrounding the order.
The video in question was critical of Alcides Bernal, mayoral candidate for the city of Campo Grande. The court argued that the video violated an electoral code from 1965, which banned campaign ads that "offend the dignity or decorum" of a candidate.
Regional electoral court judge Flavio Peren ruled on Tuesday that the video violated local election laws and called for it to be removed. When Google did not comply, Peren issued an order for the arrest of Fabio Coelho, president of Google's Brazilian operations.
Federal Police officers questioned Coelho over Google's failure to take down the video, but he was later released. The person who posted the video says it was done in an "ironic" fashion; the video has since been taken down, and the account connected to it has been deactivated.
Brazil and the United States are the top two governments requesting that Google take down content. Between July and December of 2011, Google reports receiving 128 content takedown requests from Brazilian officials and 117 from American officials.