Brazilian Police Bust Dope Ring Built Around Google's Orkut - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

IoT
IoT
News
News
7/21/2005
07:27 PM
50%
50%

Brazilian Police Bust Dope Ring Built Around Google's Orkut

The suspects supposedly formed a members-only group to trade messages and buy and sell their goods.

Police in Brazil arrested a gang of drug dealers who were using Google's popular Orkut social networking site to sell ecstasy and marijuana, reports by the Reuters wire service said late Thursday.

"We discovered the drug ring first via authorized phone tapping, and later the investigation included monitoring of their activities on the Internet," said a Drugs Enforcement Service officer who declined to give his name to Reuters.

"We've nabbed ten so far, but there may be more," he added.

Google released a short statement late Thursday in response. "We are aware of the situation and are currently looking into it. When we are made aware of situations that are against our terms of service we take appropriate action." A spokesman declined to answer any additional questions.

"Crime is even picking up networking," said Richard Stiennon, a researcher with security and anti-spyware vendor Webroot. "They'll pick up anything on the Internet to make money, just like legitimate businesses. It's scary out there."

The alleged criminals likely used Orkut. to establish a members-only group dedicated to the drug dealing, and then traded messages to pitch and purchase the goods.

Orkut is a network developed by Google to compete with the likes of Friendster, LinkedIn, and MySpace, the latter purchased by Murdoch's News Corp. on Monday. Like those competitors, Orkut lets users create circles of friends and virtual discussion groups, as well as share photos.

Orkut is available only by invitation from a current member.

The network boasts some 7 million members, of which some 73 percent are from Brazil. Fewer than 6 percent are from the U.S., the second-most popular originating locale of members; Iran, with 5 percent of the membership, is the third-place country.

In fact, the overwhelming number of Brazilians who frequent Orkut has led to some bad blood, with English speakers complaining about everything from waves of Portuguese-language spam to bemoaning the fact that their language, the default tongue of the Internet, isn't dominant on the site. Orkut is named after the Turkish engineer who created it, Orkut Buyukkokten. Buyukkokten is actually at the heart of a lawsuit filed in May 2004, by his former employer, Affinity Engines, against Google.

The lawsuit, now mired in pre-trial motions, charges that Buyukkokten, who co-founded Affinity and created its inCircle social networking product, used that source code to build Google's Orkut.

The origins of that dispute began Buyukkokten took a job with Google to solve visa problems; by Affinity's account, he signed agreements in both 2002 and 2003 stating that any social-networking technology he created belonged to Affinity Engines.

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
2021 State of ITOps and SecOps Report
2021 State of ITOps and SecOps Report
This new report from InformationWeek explores what we've learned over the past year, critical trends around ITOps and SecOps, and where leaders are focusing their time and efforts to support a growing digital economy. Download it today!
InformationWeek Is Getting an Upgrade!

Find out more about our plans to improve the look, functionality, and performance of the InformationWeek site in the coming months.

Slideshows
IT Leadership: 10 Ways to Unleash Enterprise Innovation
Lisa Morgan, Freelance Writer,  6/8/2021
Commentary
Preparing for the Upcoming Quantum Computing Revolution
John Edwards, Technology Journalist & Author,  6/3/2021
News
How SolarWinds Changed Cybersecurity Leadership's Priorities
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  5/26/2021
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Video
Current Issue
Planning Your Digital Transformation Roadmap
Download this report to learn about the latest technologies and best practices or ensuring a successful transition from outdated business transformation tactics.
White Papers
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Sponsored Video
Flash Poll