, BRASILIA, Feb 8 – The Brazilian government has filed a lawsuit against Twitter and its users in a bid to stop publication of messages alerting drivers to police speed traps and drunk-driving checkpoints.
The suit was filed in a federal court in the central-west state of Goias.
Brazil has asked for the “immediate suspension of all accounts that give information about the location of police radar,” the office of the Attorney General of the Union, who defence the state’s interest, said in a statement.
The government also wants “the definitive closure of accounts revealing the date, time and place of police checkpoints,” the statement said.
Several Brazilian states have adopted strict zero-tolerance laws to tackle drunk-driving. Drivers are increasingly using social media sites such as Twitter to alert others to the location of police checkpoints.
The attorney general’s office said such a move constituted “a direct blow to human life and security” of Brazil’s citizens. About 55,000 people die in the country each year in road accidents.
News of the lawsuit raged on Twitter, with some applauding the government’s move and others criticizing it, noting that driver tweets also helped others avoid accidents and traffic bottlenecks, CBN radio reported.
San Francisco-based Twitter announced last month that it could block tweets on a country-by-country basis if legally required to do so.
Twitter pledged to be transparent and said it would post details of any removal of content to ChillingEffects.org, a public database of takedown requests. No posts relating to the Brazil case were found on Tuesday.