Brazil: Internet "bill of rights" to take effect in June
an article by Olhar Digital
Symbolically sanctioned by President Dilma Rousseff yesterday [April 23] at the opening of the NetMundial event in Sao Paulo , the text of the "Marco Civil", an Internet bill of rights was published today in the Official Gazette and shall enter into force on 60 days in late June .
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The document, which was processed for years in the House, creates a kind of constitution for the use of internet in the country, with rights, duties and guarantees to users and businesses. "Marco is an innovative experience that reflects the voices of the streets, and the networks of different institutions," Rousseff said.
Below you can see what will change as a result of the approval of the Marco Civil.
The Marco Civil considers the Internet as an essential tool for freedom of expression and it must help the Brazilian to freely communicate and manifest under the Constitution.
The text makes the point that "the internet is essential to the exercise of citizenship." The Internet must give assurance that privacy will not be violated, connection to Internet must be considered as contractual and personal data can only be disclosed to third parties if the person formally agrees - except in judicial cases, to be discussed separately.
One of the essential points of the Marco Civil is the establishment of network neutrality. We have prepared a text to explain what this term means and you can check it out here. In general, it means that operators are prohibited from selling internet packages by type of use.
The government may also make this discrimination, but only in two situations : where it is essential for the provision of services; or if the emergency services need to be prioritized . Even so, the president who is in charge cannot simply give an order to move internet from one place to another. He will need to consult the Internet Steering Committee and the National Telecommunications Agency .
SAFEGUARDS FOR INFORMATION
Internet providers and services will only be required to provide information from users if they receive a court order. In the case of connection records, data must be kept for at least one year, while access to the records of applications have a shorter period of six months.
Any company operating in Brazil, even if it is foreign, must respect the laws of the country and deliver information required by law. Otherwise, it will face penalties from warnings, fines of up to 10 % of its revenues, or suspension of activities or prohibition of activity.
The requirement was dropped that organizations operating data centers in Brazil must store them "in house."
LIABILITY FOR CONTENT
The company that provides an connection can never be held liable for the content posted by its customers. Until now thosewho offer services such as social networks, blogs, videos etc. have run the risk of being found guilty if they do not remove the material from the air after a court warning. For example, if a judge demands Google to take a racist YouTube video off line and this is not done, Google could be held responsible for that material.
There will be a deadline to remove content deemed offensive if the judge handling the case anticipates that if there is "clear evidence", taking into account the impact and damage that caused by the material to the aggrieved person .
(This article is continued in the discussionboard)
( Click here for the original Portuguese article.)
Question(s) related to this article:
Is Internet freedom a basic human right?,
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Here are additional remarks from the speech by Mary Robinson.
It has been inspiring to see how new communications technologies have allowed us to expand the space for public debate in recent years. The internet has enabled an explosion of information and expression worldwide, and while I am sceptical about claims that Twitter and Facebook ‘caused’ events like the Arab Awakening, it is evident that social media was an indispensable tool in the dissemination of uncensored information and the coordination of public protests in the region.
This raises questions concerning the role of companies and highlights a critical gap – many business leaders are taking major decisions on their own, often without a firm understanding of their impacts on human rights. To help mainstream respect for human rights in corporate decision-making, the European Commission has embarked on a project to develop guidance for three critical industry sectors, including information and communication technologies, which are so important in today’s world. My colleagues at the Institute for Human Rights and Business and Shift are working with the Commission to develop this guidance in order to give practical meaning to the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, which were adopted in 2011.
As these tools become more accessible to people around the world – by 2020 there will be an estimated 5 billion people with access to the internet – civil society becomes better-equipped to engage in public life. Citizens have used mobile phones and internet platforms to record human rights abuses, pressure leaders to become more accountable, and connect and work together across borders. As one young Egyptian told us, “the only borders now are on maps.”
At the same time, our expectations are getting higher – and this is a good thing. When we are used to finding information freely available online, we expect to have the right to access that information without restriction. When we see various world leaders on Twitter, we expect to be able to contact our own leaders directly through such platforms. . ...more.