Brazil Signs Internet Bill of Rights into Law, Compelling Service Providers to Follow New Rules

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Brazil’s president Dilma Rousseff has signed into law the “Marco Civil da Internet,” a set of legislation designed to enforce net neutrality in the country, protect Brazilians’ freedom of expression, and give Brazilian citizens a reasonable expectation of privacy.

Having gained the unanimous approval of the Brazil’s Senate Tuesday, this legislation has been described as an “Internet Bill of Rights,” and has garnered the praise of Tim Berners-Lee and has countless supporters on social networks voicing their support using the hashtag #EuQueroMarcoCivil or “I want Marco Civil.”

Having gained momentum given the privacy concerns raised in 2013 by Edward Snowden, the Marco Civil was signed into law just prior to the beginning of the NETmundial internet governance conference in São Paulo.

The Marco Civil will have implications for any Internet service provider that provides online services to Brazilians or handles their data, and has been of particular interest to hosted service providers.

While previous regulations like having Brazilians’ data hosted within Brazil were struck down, any business holding Brazilians’ data anywhere in the world is theoretically subject to Brazilian laws around data privacy – although it may be difficult to enforce.

Some of the provisions for internet application providers include keeping records of application access logs in a safe place for six months (and a minimum of one year for internet providers). And these records can only be accessed by authorities through specific court orders.

According to ZDnet reports, the US government doesn’t plan on discussing the reach or limitations of state sovereignty in Internet policy at NetMundial.

Neelie Kroes, who heads the EU’s “Digital Agenda” policy group congratulated Rousseff, and called for better internet governance in her opening address at NetMundial. But she hinted that there were some parts of the Marco Civil that she doesn’t agree with, although, “We agree on more than we disagree on,” she said.

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