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Portugal: Activist blog silenced by Google

The blog of group Precários Inflexíveis was silenced on November 14, during the day of the general strike in the country and presumably a time when its audience was at a peak. The thousands of people looking for information about protest and actions of the group were greeted with the message “This blog is in violation of Blogger's Terms of Service and is open to authors only”.

Precários Inflexiveis is a group aimed at exposing and denouncing the working conditions of a generation of “freelance” workers, most of whom cannot aspire to permanent contracts. Their name refers to the “precarious” workforce. With 40% of youth unemployed, the rights of those who do find paid work have been under threat.

On November 14, Precários Inflexíveis, who began blogging on their Facebook page wrote that accusations of defamation directed to Google had caused the takedown. Company BF Group allegedly reacted to testimony of a worker accusing company them of “illegal work and tax evasion”. BF Group is subject to complaints in other sites, like this Portuguese-hosted site called “Queixas” (literally complaints).

In an interview with Portuguese daily Público, Precários Inflexíveis revealed that they had been previously taken to court by another business for similar reasons and won the case on appeal, but they warned that this case had “infected” the thinking of other companies.

Earlier this year, Google paved the way for country-specific takedowns of content on Blogger with these new terms of service.

The Portuguese group says it will continue to pressure Google to restore its blog, and it will continue to denounce precarious working conditions.

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