Landmark Bill in Brazil Protects Net Neutrality and Privacy on the Internet


Pedro Nicoletti Mizukami (@p_mizukami)

Former Minister of Culture Gilberto Gil (pictured ) is the main promoter of an online petition that calls for " a free and democratic Internet." The petition , available at Avaaz , seeks the full vote of the Civil Framework Internet , preserving net neutrality . The text , signed by the singer , asks lawmakers to stand firm against the lobbying of telecommunication companies and that no users lose their rights because of the profit of private companies . 

The petition already has almost 140,000 signatures , and reached a staggering 100,000 supporters in less than 6 hours in the air . See text signed by Gil :
" I believe the Civil Marco is the best bill that has already entered the Congress , because it was made by all of us, collaboratively the network ! It limits what information providers can save and establishes strict criteria for enterprises: with Marco Civil , providers are prohibited from using our data to sell services without our express permission . But some MPs are giving the telecoms lobby , and if this maneuver is successful, we can say goodbye to the internet we have today .
The phone companies say , to create differentiated packages may cheapen the internet . But if we allow companies to decide the speed of access to each type of content , will be the end of creativity and innovation that spontaneously appear on the network . We can not allow the internet to be divided into packets of services tasteless , poor quality and controlled by a few companies .
Sign the petition now and Avaaz will deliver our voices directly to Members who support this idea and put pressure on those who oppose the Civil Marco . We will take back our internet before they screw it up :
My generation fought for the democratization of Brazil and the guarantee of freedom of communication. We can not leave now that important achievements disappear before the irresponsible lobby of a handful of companies and the lack of commitment of members who believe they can ignore their constituents .
With hope and determination ,
Gilberto Gil "
Publicado: 10 de março de 2014 às 19:46 - Atualizado às 21:38
Por: Rodrigo Vilela
O ex-ministro da Cultura Gilberto Gil (foto) é o principal representante de uma petição online que defende “uma internet livre e democrática”. A petição, disponível no site Avaaz, pede a votação integral do Marco Civil da Internet, preservando a neutralidade da rede. O texto, assinado pelo cantor, pede que os parlamentares se mantenham firmes contra o lobby das empresas de telecomunicação e que nenhum usuário perca seus direitos por causa do lucro de empresas privadas.
O abaixo-assinado já conta com quase 140 mil assinaturas, e alcançou a impressionante marca de 100 mil apoiadores em menos de 6 horas no ar. Veja o texto assinado por Gil:
“Eu acredito que o Marco Civil seja o melhor projeto de lei que já entrou no Congresso, isso porque foi feito por todos nós, de forma colaborativa pela rede! Ele limita quais informações os provedores podem guardar e estabelece critérios rígidos para as empresas: com o Marco Civil, os provedores serão proibidos de usar os nossos dados para vender serviços sem a nossa autorização expressa. Mas alguns deputados estão cedendo ao lobby das telecoms e, se essa manobra for bem sucedida, podemos dizer adeus à internet que temos hoje.
As empresas de telefonia dizem que, ao criarem pacotes diferenciados, poderão baratear a internet. Mas se permitirmos que empresas decidam a velocidade de acesso a cada tipo de conteúdo, será o fim da criatividade e inovação que aparecem espontaneamente na rede. Não podemos permitir que a internet seja dividida em pacotes de serviços sem sentido, de má qualidade e controlados por poucas empresas.
Assine a petição agora e a Avaaz entregará nossas vozes diretamente aos deputados que apoiam essa ideia e pressionará aqueles que são contrários ao Marco Civil. Vamos tomar de volta a nossa internet antes que eles estraguem tudo:
A minha geração lutou pela democratização do Brasil e pela garantia da liberdade de comunicação. Não podemos deixar, agora, que conquistas importantes desapareçam diante do lobby irresponsável de um punhado de empresas e da falta de compromisso de deputados que acreditam que podem ignorar seus eleitores.
Com esperança e determinação,
Gilberto Gil”


Marco Civil Aprovado na Câmara

Luiz Fernando Moncau (@lfmoncau)
Pedro Nicoletti Mizukami (@p_mizukami)
Center for Technology and Society @ FGV Law School, Rio

At around 9pm today, March 25th 2014, the Brazilian Chamber of Deputies finally voted in favor of approving the Marco Civil bill. The text, which can be read here (in Portuguese), will now be sent to the Federal Senate for deliberation, and later returned to the Chamber of Deputies before it can be sanctioned by President Dilma Rousseff.

Marco Civil, which is the first major Brazilian law on Internet rights—including provisions on net neutrality and intermediary liability—was modified several times by rapporteur Dep. Alessandro Molon (Worker’s Party, Rio de Janeiro), so that consensus could be reached in the Chamber of Deputies. It was a complicated process.

The approved text is substantially different than the version sent to Congress in 2011, which was the output of a broad public consultation process that took place between October 2009 and May 2010 (more information can be found in the 2011 CGI.Br Internet Policy Report). Battles over intermediary liability, data retention, and net neutrality stalled bill’s progress in the Chamber of Deputies for more than two years. Voting was delayed successive times even after the bill was put under urgency regime in September 2013—a status that has the effect of blocking most other proposals until voting is carried out.

Considering how terrible some of the proposed amendments to Marco Civil were, the approved text is largely positive. It is definitely not the ideal version of law. But it is a much better one than expected, and probably the best possible outcome given the existing political limitations.

Here is a short summary on some of the most important items:

Data retention
Brazil was dangerously close to establishing a period of 5 years of mandatory data retention before discussions on Marco Civil began. Unfortunately, the bill still has provisions to that effect, but the period is much shorter for ISPs providing connectivity services (1 year). The bad news is that mainly due to aggressive pressure by the Federal Police, other Internet services—initially excluded from Marco Civil—are also subject to data retention (6 months).

Net neutrality
Brazil has taken a major step forward in preserving net neutrality, following the example set by countries such as Chile and the Netherlands. Marco Civil establishes the general principle that net neutrality should be guaranteed, and further regulated by a presidential decree, with inputs from both the Brazilian Internet Steering Committee ( and ANATEL, the national telecommunications agency. Since telcos have a strong presence at ANATEL, the solution adopted by Marco Civil is arguably the best outcome, even if there is the danger of ineffective regulation further down the road.

Intermediary liability
One of the main provisions of Marco Civil deals with the difficult subject of intermediary liability due to content uploaded by third parties. The system in Marco Civil establishes that intermediaries can only be held liable if they do not comply with a court order explicitly demanding content to be removed. This regime, however, is not applicable to copyright infringement, which will be dealt with by the forthcoming copyright reform bill.

After the Snowden leaks, a small number of privacy provisions were included in Marco Civil (the main privacy and data protection bill under development has yet to be sent to Congress). The main proposal was extremely controversial: forcing Internet companies to host data pertaining to Brazilian nations within Brazilian territory. Broadly rejected by civil society, engineers, companies, and several legislators, the proposal was dropped by the government so that voting could take place.

Rights and principles
Marco Civil establishes a strong, forward-looking assertion of rights and principles for Internet regulation in Brazil: freedom of expression, interoperability, the use of open standards and technology, protection of personal data, accessibility, multistakeholder governance,  open government data. These provisions usually receive less exposure in media than the ones pertaining to more controversial topics. When taken as a whole, however, they express a strong commitment to an Internet that is an open, collaborative, democratic, space for individual and collective expression, as well as for access to knowledge, culture and information.

Marco Civil will now be discussed in the Federal Senate. No matter the outcome there, it will be returned to the Chamber of Deputies, which has the final word on the text.

All in all, this is a major victory for civil society and Internet activists. It was long, difficult process, and there were many occasions when it seemed almost inevitable that the entire bill would be rejected. Now, there is even the possibility that Marco Civil will passed into law before the NETmundial meeting.

luiz dot moncau at fgv dot br
pedro dot mizukami at fgv dot br

Luiz Fernando Moncau 

Pedro Nicoletti Mizukami