Brazil takes a lead in the future of the Internet

April 16, 2014

Angelica Mari – Brazil Tech, 4/16/2014

The Brazilian government believes that it is in a strong position to lead the debate around global Internet governance and hopes to “energize” other countries to participate more actively in the future of the Net.

When debating the topics to be discussed at next week’s Internet governance event NETmundial, the information technology secretary at the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation Virgílio Almeida, remarked that Brazil has the authority to be a leader in the subject of Internet governance.

“Not a lot of countries have a body like the [Brazilian Internet steering committee] CGI.br, which is a truly multistakeholder organization that has been in place for over 20 years and provided the source of the principles that will shape next week’s discussions,” Almeida told ZDNet.

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The world’s first Internet governance plan: what do you want to know?

April 15, 2014

Angelica Mari – Brazil Tech, 4/15/2014

Later this month, the Brazilian government will present its suggestions for a global Internet governance model, which will set out provisions around net neutrality, right to privacy and freedom of expression online.

The plan will be discussed at multistakeholder event NETmundial, which will take place in São Paulo on April 22-23 with the participation of Brazil, France, Ghana, Germany, India, Indonesia, South Africa, South Korea, Tunisia, Turkey and the US. The event’s collaborative draft agreementhas been released by WikiLeaks last week.

ZDNet will discuss these upcoming proposals with the secretary of information technology policies at the Brazilian ministry of science and technology, Virgílio Almeida today (15) and want your opinion on the matter.

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Two heads are worse than one

April 4, 2014

The Economist, 4/5/2014

“UNIQUE.” That is how Credit Suisse, a bank, sums up Petrobras. It has a point. Most companies’ stocks would sag on the sort of news Brazil’s oil giant has faced in the past three weeks. A federal investigation was opened, into alleged backhanders paid to its employees by a Dutch company in exchange for oil-platform and drilling contracts. (Both companies deny the allegations.) A parliamentary inquiry is imminent, into the purchase in 2006 of a refinery in Texas which cost $1.2 billion but is now worth no more than $180m. A former director has been arrested in a money-laundering probe. If that were not enough, on March 24th Standard & Poor’s, a ratings agency, downgraded its corporate debt. Yet Petrobras’s shares have risen by 30%.

The reason for this seemingly irrational exuberance is that investors consider Petrobras’s prospects to be inversely linked to those of Brazil’s government, led by the president, Dilma Rousseff. The rally began with rumours (later proved premature) that Ms Rousseff’s poll lead over her likeliest challengers in a presidential election this October was dwindling. The government owns a majority stake in the company and makes most of the strategic decisions over the head of Maria das Graças Foster, the chief executive.

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The net closes

March 28, 2014

The Economist, 3/29/2014

“THE best possible birthday gift for Brazilian and global web users” is how Tim Berners-Lee, the British inventor of the world wide web, which turned 25 this month, described Brazil’s “internet bill of rights” in an open letter on March 24th. The next day legislators in the lower house of Congress duly approved it.

The sweeping bill, which now goes to the Senate, is “pretty much one of a kind”, says Ronaldo Lemos, a lawyer and academic involved in creating the original proposal in 2009. It enshrines the principle of “net neutrality”, which holds that network operators must treat all traffic equally. It also ensures that 100m Brazilian internet users enjoy online privacy (by barring providers from rummaging through their data) and freedom of expression (a court order is required to force the removal of contentious content).

“THE best possible birthday gift for Brazilian and global web users” is how Tim Berners-Lee, the British inventor of the world wide web, which turned 25 this month, described Brazil’s “internet bill of rights” in an open letter on March 24th. The next day legislators in the lower house of Congress duly approved it.

The sweeping bill, which now goes to the Senate, is “pretty much one of a kind”, says Ronaldo Lemos, a lawyer and academic involved in creating the original proposal in 2009. It enshrines the principle of “net neutrality”, which holds that network operators must treat all traffic equally. It also ensures that 100m Brazilian internet users enjoy online privacy (by barring providers from rummaging through their data) and freedom of expression (a court order is required to force the removal of contentious content).

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Brazil: Internet “bill of rights” approved in key vote

March 27, 2014

BBC News, 3/27/2014

Known as the Marco Civil - or Bill of Rights – it would enshrine freedom of expression, the right to privacy and the principle of web neutrality. The measure must still be approved in the Brazilian Senate before it can be signed into law, the Latin Post news website reports.

Supporters of the bill are celebrating the development. “Oh my God, I’m so, so happy,” says Carolina Rossini, project director at New America Foundation, who has campaigned for Marco Civil for many years. “Last night I had a whole bottle of wine by myself,” she tells the Daily Dot website, which covers internet-related news.

The Marco Civil bill was first officially drafted in 2009, and went through a long process of approval and consultation with web users, telecom companies and government agencies, the Latin Post says.

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Brazil’s cut a break as Petrobras avoids downgrade

March 27, 2014

Kenneth Rapoza – Forbes, 3/26/2014

For once, Petrobras is the source of good news.

Sort of.

After a week of credit rating downgrades at dozens of Brazilian banks, not to mention a sovereign credit downgrade for Brazil’s foreign debt by Standard & Poor’s on Tuesday, the beleaguered oil major got its AAA credit reaffirmed by Fitch on Wednesday.

The rating affects Petrobras’ roughly $48 billion in debt, including debt owed by its financial subsidiaries Petrobras International Finance and Petrobras Global Finance.  The foreign currency credit rating on both firms was maintained at BBB with a stable outlook.

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Brazil’s anti-spy Internet bill clears lower house vote

March 26, 2014

Anthony Boadle – Reuters, 3/25/2014

Brazil’s lower chamber of Congress approved groundbreaking legislation on Tuesday aimed at guaranteeing equal access to the Internet and protecting the privacy of its users in the wake of U.S. spying revelations.

To ensure passage of the bill, the government had to drop a contentious provision that would have forced global Internet companies to store data on Brazilian servers inside the country.

The rule was added last year to proposed Internet governance legislation after revelations that the U.S. National Security Agency had spied on the personal communications of Brazilians, including those of President Dilma Rousseff.

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World Wide Web founder supports Brazil’s “internet constitution”

March 25, 2014

Angelica Mari – Brazil Tech ZD Net, 3/25/2014

The founder of the World Wide Web Sir Tim Berners-Lee has called for Brazil’s first set of internet governance rules to be passed “without further delay or amendment.”

The Marco Civil da Internet, dubbed Brazil’s “Internet Constitution”, is due to be voted this week and the creator of the Web, who had previously voiced opinions about aspects of the Bill, released a statement of support.

“If Marco Civil is passed, without further delay or amendment, this would be the best possible birthday gift for Brazilian and global Web users,” says Berners-Lee.

“I hope that by passing this Bill, Brazil will cement its proud reputation as a world leader on democracy and social progress and will help to usher in a new era – one where citizens’ rights in every country around the world are protected by digital bills of rights,” he adds.

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Brazil’s Rio Bravo seeks partners to finance wind power growth

March 25, 2014

Christiana Sciaudone – Bloomberg Business Week, 3/25/2014

Rio Bravo Investimentos SA, the asset manager founded by former central bank president Gustavo Franco, is looking for new financial partners to help it become one of Brazil’s biggest wind power companies.

Rio Bravo plans to bring its first 503.5 megawatts of wind energy on line by the end of this year and will at least double that by 2017, said Paulo Bilyk, its chief investment officer. The Sao Paulo-based company needs 1.5 gigawatts to 2 gigawatts as it plans to go public within five to six years, he said.

“We’d like to build one of the biggest renewable energy companies,” Bilyk said in a March 6 interview in Sao Paulo. “Brazil needs energy. Even if Brazil’s economy grows at just 1 percent to 3 percent a year for the next five or six years, we won’t have enough energy.”

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More than half of Brazilian households lack internet access

March 24, 2014

Angelica Mari – ZD Net, 3/24/2014

New research on telecommunications services in Brazil revealed that only 40.8 percent of households have internet access, the main barrier being the price of computing devices and access services.

The numbers of the research System of Indicators of Social Perception (SIPS), undertaken by the Brazilian Institute of Applied Economic Research (Ipea) show that the remaining digitally excluded households do not have internet access due to not owning a computer (59.6 percent), not being able to afford access services (14.1 percent), not having the need for internet (8.7 percent) and not knowing how to use it (4.3 percent).

Regarding the price of the devices, 34 percent of the households that do not own a computer said they would pay between R$300 ($129) and R$800 ($344) for a computer. Most Brazilian large retailers sell basic desktops for at least R$1000 ($430), which partly explains the recent rise in popularity of low-cost tablets as entry-level computing devices.

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