Brazil's 'Internet Bill of Rights' a Victory for Web Freedom
By Lauren McCauley / commondreams.org
Apr 24, 2014

Tim Berners-Lee, Father of the Internet, says law will 'unleash a new era—in which the rights of citizens in all countries are protected by a Digital Rights Charter'

A landmark law that guarantees equal access to the nation's internet and protects the privacy of users was signed by Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff on Wednesday, in a move that is being hailed as a historic step for online freedom worldwide.

The "Civil Law Marco Internet"—dubbed the Internet Bill of Rights by its supporters—was passed unanimously by Brazil's Senate on Tuesday. Rousseff signed the bill at the launch of the two-day NETmundial conference in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

“Internet and freedom are wired together forever," said Michael Freitas Mohallem, Campaign Director at Avaaz, an international organization that collected more than 350,00 signatures in Brazil calling for net neutrality legislation.

"Marco Civil is a bill created, championed, and today delivered into law by the people," Freitas Mohallem continued. "This is a truly historical day for people power, with Brazil now leading the world in keeping the net neutral."

Sir Tim Berners-Lee, considered the 'Father of the Internet,' hailed the law as "a gift to the web on its 25th birthday." 

Berners-Lee said the law "reflects the Internet as it should be: an open, neutral and decentralized network, in which users are the engine of collaboration and innovation." He added that by passing the bill, Brazil would "unleash a new era—in which the rights of citizens in all countries are protected by a Digital Rights Charter."

The Brazilian government fought hard to preserve certain aspects of the law, including a net neutrality provision that was fiercely opposed by telecom companies, according to Reuters,because it bars them from giving preferential treatment to some websites or content providers over others.

Rousseff, whose targetting by the NSA was revealed by documents leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, has become a strong proponent of internet privacy.

"This is a truly historical day for people power, with Brazil now leading the world in keeping the net neutral."
—Michael Freitas Mohallem, Campaign Director at Avaaz.org

"The Civil Marco protects the privacy of citizens, both in relation to the government and in relation to companies operating on the Internet," Rousseff said during the signing.

One provision of the law holds that companies, such as Google and Facebook, will be subject to Brazil's laws and courts in cases involving information on Brazilians, even if the data is stored on servers abroad. Officials had initially wanted metadata on Brazilian users stored exclusively in Brazil, but that "contentious provision" was removed after companies threatened that would "push up their costs and create barriers to the free flow of information," Reuters notes.

Further, the law limits the gathering and use of metadata on Internet users in Brazil. Communications are "inviolable," except by specific court order.

The law also protects freedom of expression and information by establishing clear rules for the removal of content. Service providers will not be liable for content published by users, but they must comply with court orders to remove offensive or libelous material.

Marking the opening day of the NETmundial conference, during which representatives from 80 nations will convene to discuss a proposed set of "Internet Governance Principles," Rousseff said that Brazil "has much to contribute to the process of building a new Internet governance." She added that the development of the law was "innovative" because the process "echoed the voices of the streets, networks and institutions."

Protesters have criticized the international forum as a "farce," saying the proposed standards lack adequate protections.

On Monday, it was revealed that the United States had submitted a draft of the "Principles" with specific edits in an attempt to strip the document from binding protections of net neutrality.

_____________________

3.5 ·
1
Trending Today
What Happens When You Rebel Against the Herd
Sofo Archon · 15,461 views today · Are You Truly Living Your Life? You live, but are you living the way you want to live, or the way others want you to live? You choose, but are your choices based on...
10 Words Every Girl Should Learn
Soraya Chemaly · 13,303 views today · "Stop interrupting me."  "I just said that." "No explanation needed." In fifth grade, I won the school courtesy prize. In other words, I won an award for being polite. My...
How Norway Avoided Becoming a Fascist State
George Lakey · 8,668 views today · Instead of falling to the Nazi party, Norway broke through to a social democracy. Their history shows us polarization is nothing to despair over.
Everything We Think We Know About Addiction Is Wrong
6 min · 4,175 views today · What causes addiction? Easy, right? Drugs cause addiction. But maybe it is not that simple. This video is adapted from Johann Hari's New York Times best-selling book 'Chasing...
Artificial Ethics and the Search for Intelligence
5 min · 3,339 views today · How to stop a robot turning evil.  It's 2027 and Mental Endeavours Ltd has a problem with their flagship robot Günther. How do you program an intelligent machine not to...
How a Lack of Touch Is Destroying Men
Mark Green · 3,218 views today · Why Men Need More Platonic Touch in their Lives
The Coming War on China
John Pilger · 2,425 views today · A major US military build-up – including nuclear weapons – is under way in Asia and the Pacific with the purpose of confronting China. John Pilger raises the alarm on an...
Murdoch and Trump, Sitting at the Tee, S-C-H-E-M-I-N-G
Frankie Boyle · 2,238 views today · Say what you like about Donald Trump but he's already done things people said were impossible, like made Twitter worse. Looking back, the Harambe situation is the closest...
Real Underground Kingdom That Has Existed for Millions of Years Went Unnoticed, Until Recently...
Kid Krunk · 1,459 views today · 28 Stunning Photos Of The World’s Largest Cave
Without Saying a Word This 6 Minute Clip From Samsara Will Make You Speechless
6 min · 1,434 views today · Can you put this video into words? It's a clip from the phenomenal documentary Samsara, directed by Ron Fricke, who also made Baraka.  If you're interested in watching...
Two Ways to Build Global Community
Dan Hind · 1,219 views today · A platform co-operative approach to information, rather than the models of Facebook and legacy media, provide reason for optimism, writes Dan Hind.
Your Lifestyle Has Already Been Designed (The Real Reason For The Forty-Hour Workweek)
David Cain · 1,117 views today · Well I’m in the working world again. I’ve found myself a well-paying gig in the engineering industry, and life finally feels like it’s returning to normal after my nine months...
John Lennon's "Imagine," Made Into a Comic Strip
John Lennon. Art by Pablo Stanley · 1,063 views today · This is easily the best comic strip ever made.  Pabl
What Would It Take to Stop the Raids?
CrimethInc. Ex-Workers Collective · 864 views today · Responding Effectively to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Attacks
Philippine Vigils Against Vigilantes - The Reign of Terror in the President's War on Drugs
7 min · 794 views today · The war on drugs waged by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has taken more than 7,000 lives since its inception. It took the killing of a South Korean businessman by police...
What Makes Call-Out Culture So Toxic
Asam Ahmad · 759 views today · Call-out culture refers to the tendency among progressives, radicals, activists, and community organizers to publicly name instances or patterns of oppressive behaviour and...
System Change Will Not Be Negotiated
Nnimmo Bassey · 747 views today · We frequently hear calls for system change, at public mobilisations, in conference halls and even in negotiation halls. The calls come as slogans, they come in anger and they...
A Hauntingly Beautiful Short Film About Life and Death
5 min · 664 views today · The Life of Death is a touching handdrawn animation about the day Death fell in love with Life.
Simple Social Experiment Shows We Are More Than The Boxes People Put Us In
3 min · 664 views today · We live in a time where we are quick to put people in boxes. Maybe we have more in common than what we think?
Today I Rise: This Beautiful Short Film Is Like a Love Poem For Your Heart and Soul
4 min · 577 views today · "The world is missing what I am ready to give: My Wisdom, My Sweetness, My Love and My hunger for Peace." "Where are you? Where are you, little girl with broken wings but full...
Load More
What's Next
Like us on Facebook?
Brazil's 'Internet Bill of Rights' a Victory for Web Freedom