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New internet law in effect in Brazil
June 24, 2014, 5:53 am

Brazilian President Rousseff had earlier said the US spying program was “economic espionage” [Getty Images]

Brazilian President Rousseff had earlier said the US spying program was “economic espionage” [Getty Images]

The Brazilian government’s new legislation aimed at protecting internet privacy and guaranteeing open access to the web came into effect on Monday in a bid to tighten security after the espionage scandal exposed by former US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden.

The ‘Marco Civil da Internet’ bill was signed into law in April by President Dilma Rousseff, and defines the duties and rights of Internet users and providers.

“The internet you want is only possible in an environment of respect for human rights, especially privacy and freedom of expression,” Rousseff said in a statement on her website after signing the law in April.

Internet security generated a lot of heated debate in late 2013 after reports that the US government had spied on Brazil’s private communications, including e-mails and phone calls of President Rousseff.

The reports also said other government officials, and Petrobras, Brazil’s state-controlled oil and gas company, were targeted.

The new law includes a net neutrality provision that bars internet access providers from restricting content and from charging more for data-heavy services. According to official data, the IT sector in Brazil grew by 15 per cent in 2013, above the 4.8 per cent world average.

To ensure users’ privacy on the web, the new law has limited the metadata that can be collected on Brazilian users by access providers. Companies are also forbidden from selling people’s personal data and global internet firms will be subject to Brazilian law in cases involving domestic users.

In a move to ensure freedom of expression, companies cannot remove content posted by users without a court order, unless the content is related to, for example, pedophilia or pornographic images or videos.

Meanwhile, Brazil is pushing ahead with plans to boost its Internet security by developing an undersea fibre-optics communications cable that would reroute its online traffic directly to Europe, bypassing the United States.

State-owned telecom provider Telebras recently announced that it was entering into a joint venture with Spain’s IslaLink Submarine Cables to build a link between the northeastern city of Fortaleza and the Iberian Peninsula.

The undersea cable is budgeted at $185 million and construction is scheduled to begin in July.


TBP and Agencies

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