Google drugs ring smashed

Brazilians discover the power of social networking

Police have arrested 10 Brazilians on drug charges after monitoring their chatter on Google's Orkut site. Suspected dealers were arrested in Niteroi, Rio De Janeiro and Buzios, and are accused of distributing ecstacy and marijuana.

Around half of Orkut's users are Brazilian.

Reuters reports that the group were using Orkut to sell drugs. Perhaps using a system which harvests an enormous amount of personal data about its participants is not the wisest choice of distribution channel. Here, for example, a Google employee marvels at the data.

Professor Roger Clarke, a visiting professor at the Australian National University, last year warned users "to stay well clear" of such services for privacy reasons.

But watching garrulous internet users is a growing business for the spooks. The Federation of American Scientists reported that the NSA uses social network data to profile Iranian officials. Read about the potential drawbacks of this research here

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