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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Brazil to drop local data storage rule in internet bill

March 20, 2014

Anthony Baodle – Reuters, 3/18/2014

Brazil will drop a controversial provision that would have forced global Internet companies to store data on Brazilian users inside the country to shield them from U.S. spying, a government minister said on Tuesday.

The rule was added last year to proposed Internet governance legislation after revelations that the U.S. National Security Agency had spied on the digital communications of Brazilians, including those of their President Dilma Rousseff and the country’s biggest company Petroleo Brasileiro SA.

Instead, the legislation will say that companies such as Google Inc and Facebook Inc are subject to Brazilian laws in cases involving information on Brazilians even if the data is stored abroad, congressional relations minister Ideli Salvatti told reporters.

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A restart of the stunted relations with the U.S.

March 19, 2014

Paulo Sotero – O Estado d. São Paulo, 3/19/2014

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The visit made to Brasília this week by U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew and Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, Roberta Jacobson, marked the resumption, by American initiative, of a relationship interrupted since last year, when revelations of  NSA spying on Brazil led President Dilma Rousseff to postpone a state visit to Washington, D.C.

Alarmed by the damage caused by the episode, at a moment when bilateral relations seemed poised to gain content and quality, the leader of a major American company called Valerie Jarett, a personal friend of Barack Obama and a senior White House advisor, to ask that the president make a  gesture  to reestablish dialogue.  Aware of the concern of Brazil’s private sector regarding the paralyzed relations with the United States, former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva told the U.S. ambassador in Brazil, Liliana Ayalde, that he would work towards resolving the crisis. It was not an easy task.

In late January, Brazilian Foreign Minister, Luís Alberto Figueiredo, said, after meeting with U.S. National Security Advisor Susan Rice, that the solution depended on Dilma and Obama. “It is not a conversation on my level, or at her [Susan Rice] level, that will lead to an improvement in relations,” he stated.

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Brazil energy rationing risk real and rising: BTG pactual

March 17, 2014

Juan Pablo Spinetto – Bloomberg, 3/17/2014

Brazil is facing a growing possibility of power rationing as the most severe drought in at least four decades drains dams, the country’s main source of electricity, according to Grupo BTG Pactual. (BBTG11)

Reservoir levels in Latin America’s largest economy may fall as low as 14 percent by November, making some sort of energy rationing between May and October “prudent,” BTG analysts led by Carlos Sequeira in Rio de Janeiro said in a note to clients. Power restrictions may force industry to cut output and hurt Brazil’s fiscal and trade positions, they said.

“There is no question that risks of energy rationing are real and rising,” the analysts said in today’s report. “Demand is now higher and the pace of deterioration is alarming.”

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Brazil’s nuclear kaleidoscope: an evolving identity

March 13, 2014

Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 3/12/2014

There is no shortage of international commentary on Brazil’s nuclear policy, especially its advanced nuclear fuel cycle and nuclear submarine program. But remarkably little attention is paid to Brazilian voices on these issues. Brazilians paint a picture of an emerging power seeking nuclear independence and searching for its role in the global order.

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Brazil upgrades Air Traffic Technology for World Cub and Olympics

March 4, 2014

Global Travel Industry News, 4/4/2014

In the run up to the FIFA World Cup™ this year, and the Olympics in 2016, SITA is working with the Comissão de Implantação do Sistema de Controle do Espaço Aéreo (CISCEA) in its drive to upgrade Brazil’s air traffic management technology. CISCEA is the body responsible for developing and implementing new technologies for DECEA, the Brazilian Air Navigation Service Provider.

SITA, the world’s leading provider of air traffic management communications and IT solutions, already provides Departure Clearance (DCL) and Digital-Automatic Terminal Information Service (D-ATIS) datalink services at both Antonio Carlos Jobim International Airport in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo’s GRU Airport. These solutions will now be extended to 23 airports across Brazil.

Major Brigadier Carlos Vuyk de Aquino, President of CISCEA, said: “Brazil has the busiest airspace in South America and we are very proud to be hosting two of the world’s biggest sporting events. We want everyone flying to, from and within Brazil to have smooth and uneventful journeys. It is therefore essential that our air traffic managers have access to the very best technology available.

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Brazil, Europe plan undersea cable to skirt U.S. spying

February 24, 2014

Robin Emmott – Reuters, 2/24/2014

Brazil and the European Union agreed on Monday to lay an undersea communications cable from Lisbon to Fortaleza to reduce Brazil’s reliance on the United States after Washington spied on Brasilia.

At a summit in Brussels, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff said the $185 million cable project was central to “guarantee the neutrality” of the Internet, signaling her desire to shield Brazil’s Internet traffic from U.S. surveillance.

“We have to respect privacy, human rights and the sovereignty of nations. We don’t want businesses to be spied upon,” Rousseff told a joint news conference with the presidents of the European Commission and the European Council.

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Rio: Brazil’s silicon beach

February 10, 2014

Jonathan Watts – The Guardian, 2/8/2014

Anyone doubting Rio de Janeiro’s techward shift need only look at the famous pavement mosaics that mark the promenade along Copacabana beach. The black and white patterns have traditionally resembled the waves across which early settlers and modern tourists travelled. Last year, however, that antique, analogue design has been partly reconfigured to reflect a digital future with the addition of tiled QR codes for smartphones.

The pavement symbols link to online maps and tourist websites. That should be useful to the throngs of visitors expected in this resort during this year’sWorld Cup and the 2016 Olympics, but the significance goes far beyond the mega sporting events.

The tiled codes are a small part of an attempted makeover of party-town Rio into a Latin-American technology hub. Driven by multinational tech companies, local startups and city universities, the mayor, Eduardo Paes, is trying to shape a future for this resort that is as much about being smart as having fun. This is partly an attempt to ride a nationwide trend. Brazil – which is vying with France and Britain to be the world’s fifth biggest economy – is belatedly embracing wireless technology and social networks. Thanks to a surge in recent years, there are now more mobile phones (268.4m) in this country than people. Tablet sales have jumped from 220,000 at the beginning of 2012 to more than 5m today. And Facebook use has increased to the point where Brazil is now second only to the US in terms of the number of users.

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Brazil water project, long delayed, gets elections year boost

February 10, 2014

Anthony Boadle – Reuters, 2/10/2014

In 2006, then President Luiz Inacio Lula de Silva, a native of Brazil’s historically drought-plagued northeast, pushed through an idea that long-suffering residents of the region had been hearing about for more than a century.

At last, he promised, Brazil would channel water to the sun-baked region from the São Francisco, the country’s second-longest river. By 2010, he said, water would be pumped over hills and into a 477 kilometer-long network of canals, aqueducts and reservoirs to quench thirsty cities and farms in four states.

Eight years later, and near the end of a first term for Lula’s hand-picked successor as president, Dilma Rousseff, the project is only half built. Delayed by bureaucracy and contract problems, the cost of the government’s single biggest infrastructure venture has almost doubled to 8.2 billion reais ($3.4 billion).

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