The Associated Press, 4/23/2014
Brazil’s Congress passed a bill guaranteeing Internet privacy and enshrining access to the Web on the eve of a major conference in Sao Paulo on the future of Internet governance that’s expected to draw representatives from some 80 countries.
The bill, which was championed by President Dilma Rousseff and approved late Tuesday, puts limits on the metadata that can be collected from Internet users in Brazil. It also makes Internet service providers not liable for content published by their users and requires them to comply with court orders to remove offensive material.
Brazil has cast itself as a defender of Internet freedom following revelations last year that Rousseff was the object of surveillance by the United States’ National Security Agency. Rousseff cancelled a state visit to the U.S. last October over the revelations, which came out of leaks by former NSA analyst Edward Snowden and showed Brazil’s state-run Petrobras was also the object of American spying.
Claudia Trevisan – Estado de S. Paulo, 3/30/2014
Former U.S. Ambassador to Brazil criticized the Brazilian government’s lack of a stance on the case of the annexation of Crimea.
Venezuela is divided internally and is also a source of polarization in the Americas, evaluated Thomas Shannon, counselor to the U.S. Department of State, who was ambassador to Brazil for four years. “The unwillingness of the countries in the hemisphere to deal with what is happening in Venezuela directly and in a public manner is a mistake,” he said, in an interview with the Estado de S. Paulo. Shannon explained that Russia’s annexation of Crimea fundamentally changed the relationship between Washington and Moscow, and criticized Brazil for its lack of a stance on the case. “Large countries with large ambitions need to assert themselves, for the benefit of all of us,” he stated. Shannon said the U.S. would like to “do more” in the relationship with Brazil, recently shaken by spying revelations from former NSA agent Edward Snowden and the cancellation of President Dilma Rousseff’s state visit to Washington in October.
Read full interview in Portuguese here.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Brian Winter – Reuters, 2/5/2014
Brazilian security forces are using undercover agents, intercepting e-mails, and rigorously monitoring social media to try to ensure that violent anti-government protesters do not ruin soccer’s World Cup this year, officials told Reuters.
Demonstrations in recent months have been much smaller than those last June whenBrazil hosted a dress rehearsal tournament for the World Cup, shaking President Dilma Rousseff’s government and contributing to an economic slowdown.
But they have still resulted in vandalism of banks and paralyzed parts of major cities as a hard core of perhaps a few thousand protesters nationwide, some of whom wear masks and call themselves “Black Blocs,” clash with police.
Julian Hattem – The Hill, 1/30/2014
The Obama administration is making an effort to quell foreign concerns about spying by the National Security Agency (NSA) and other intelligence arms.
On Thursday, National Security Adviser Susan Rice met with Brazil’s foreign minister, Luiz Alberto Figueiredo, to update him on President Obama’s plans to rein in the spy agency.
Rice “outlined the results of the review of U.S. signals intelligence activities, and the reforms to be implemented,” the White House said in a statement.
Lourdes Garcia-Navarro – NPR, 01/08/2014
Should they or shouldn’t they? That’s the question Brazilians are asking themselves after Edward Snowden’s “open letter” lauding Brazil’s role in protecting privacy rights and alluding to his hand in uncovering spying on their president.
“Today, if you carry a cellphone in Sao [Paulo], the NSA can and does keep track of your location,” wrote Snowden, 30, who is living in temporary asylum in Russia. “They do this 5 billion times a day to people around the world.”
Last month, a group of Brazilian senators came out in support of the former NSA contractor. And even Luis Roberto Barroso — a judge on Brazil’s highest court — spoke in his defense.
Brazil has no plans to grant asylum to Edward Snowden even after the former U.S. National Security Agency contractor offered on Tuesday to help investigate revelations of spying on Brazilians and their president, a local newspaper reported.
The Folha de S.Paulo newspaper, citing unnamed government officials, said the Brazilian government has no interest in investigating the mass Internet surveillance programs Snowden revealed in June and does not intend to give him asylum.
In an “Open Letter to the Brazilian People” published by Folha and social media, Snowden offered to help a congressional probe into NSA spying on the country, including the personal communications of President Dilma Rousseff.