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Last updated at 12:39 GMT, Thursday, 09 February 2012

Twitter faces Brazilian lawsuit

Summary

9 February 2012

The Brazilian government has filed a lawsuit against the Twitter, demanding the removal of the accounts of users that give the location of police road blocks and speed traps. Twitter has already said it could block messages that broke local laws if requested to by governments.

Reporter
Paulo Cabral

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The use of Twitter to alert drivers about police road blocks became widespread after Brazil adopted tougher laws against drink-driving about three years ago.

The Attorney General's office claims the Twitter information allows drivers to violate both traffic and criminal laws. According to the authorities the road blocks make the roads safer and help to fight other types of crime, such as drug dealing.

One of the largest of these illegal Twitter accounts is based in Rio de Janeiro and has almost 300 thousand followers.

The lawsuit demands that Twitter must block all these accounts and if it doesn't it must pay almost 300 thousand dollars for each day of non-compliance.

Statistics from the Ministry of Justice place Brazil among the 10 countries with the highest proportion of deaths caused by road traffic accidents.

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Vocabulary

alert

warn about

road block

a barrier across the road to stop traffic

wide spread

happening over a large area

adopted

started using

violate

break/not obey

followers

supporter or users

lawsuit

complaint against someone that can be made in a court of law

non-compliance

not obeying the rules

proportion

share of/percentage of

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