The Federal Attorney’s Office of Brazil has filed a lawsuit against Twitter Inc. demanding that the state of Goias block all Twitter accounts that warn of traffic control points, also known as ‘blitzes.’
As an attempt to reduce the amount of traffic accidents and casualties in the country, Brazil began an initiative to control traffic through the use of radars and mobile road control points, or ‘blitzes.’ As a result, Twitter accounts such as @LeiSecaRJ (“Dry Law Rio de Janeiro”) popped up in response to these traffic checkpoints and have become increasingly popular. This profile recently won a global Shorty Award with hundreds of thousands of followers. Accounts such as this began to warn drivers of traffic controllers in locations throughout the city and has also begun a controversy throughout Brazil.
Many supporters of such Twitter profiles feel that the government should not be able to censor such forms of social media. Others argue that the traffic checkpoints are in place to reduce deaths caused by DUIs as well as fight crimes such as drug traffic and stolen vehicles.
According to the lawsuit, Twitter would have to pay a daily fine of $290,000 if it doesn’t abide by the court order. Twitter, a company which openly supports freedom of expression, has yet to comment on the lawsuit.