Defeated Brazilian presidential candidate sues Twitter

Unhappy with tweets posted during this year's elections, politician demands access to details of users of the microblogging service.

The São Paulo Court of Justice has ruled in favor of defeated Brazilian presidential candidate Aécio Neves in the latest developments of a lawsuit where the politician demands details of Twitter users that have been trolling him.

Neves had originally requested the IP details and other information of Twitter users who had been allegedly linking him to various criminal activities, as well as drug use, during the election campaign.

The 66 authors of supposedly offensive messages include film-makers and academics, as well as journalists. Later, the politician's legal team said it had mistakenly included some of those names and excluded 11 Twitter users from the list.

According to newspaper Folha de São Paulo, the São Paulo court determined that out of the 55 names, 20 users had been producing and disseminating content that linked Neves to criminal activity.

Twitter has appealed on the basis that its users have the right to freedom of expression and that the breach would effectively represent censorship. The company did not respond to ZDNet's requests for comment.

Judge Helmer Amaral has been quoted by Folha as saying that while freedom of expression is a constitutional right, the importance of inviolability of privacy and the right to seek compensation for damages are also outlined in the Brazilian constitution.

Neves' lawyers argue that the users are paid to spread defamatory content online.

After losing the presidential campaign - Neves had 51 million votes while elected president Dilma Rousseff had 54,5 million votes - the defeated candidate, who calls himself "a spokesperson of a national desire for change," has voiced concerns over the country's electronic voting system and requested a special audit of the machines to the Supreme Electoral Court.