FROM THE APRIL 8, 2014 ISSUE
Is Brazil's Internet Rights Bill Good or Bad Legislation?
The lower house of Brazil's Congress on March 25 approved an Internet rights bill that would protect net neutrality, the concept that requires Internet service providers to treat all data equally. The legislation, which now goes to the Senate, would also guarantee free expression online and would protect companies like Facebook from being held legally responsible for material posted on their sites. How would the legislation affect technology-related companies operating in Brazil? Does it go far enough to protect Internet users' rights? What should be changed in the legislation?
Bruno Magrani, public policy manager at Facebook Brasil: "The approval of Brazil's Internet bill of rights by its lower house was an important step to advance the discussion about critical regulatory issues for the Internet. The establishment of a safe harbor limiting legal liability is key to allow for innovative startups to be created. As it moves ahead, the Senate has a unique opportunity to make adjustments that would provide for a stable regulatory environment to attract investments on innovation. That would be achieved by addressing two issues. First, innovation should not be burdened. For instance, requiring explicit and specific consent from users may cause companies to place unnecessary notices that would interfere with user interface without contributing to educate users about privacy policies. Companies should be required to be transparent and allow users to have control over their data while having incentives to experiment with different models to inform users and obtain their consent. Second, the bill's broad jurisdiction language should be limited to avoid conflict with other laws. If passed, the bill would require foreign companies to comply with Brazilian legislation if their service is offered to Brazilian users--even if a company has no offices in Brazil. This may cause Brazilians to be cut off from innovative Internet services due to the risk that foreign companies would incur if a conflict of laws makes compliance with Brazilian law impossible. If these issues are addressed, Brazil will find itself on the right path to attract investments and promote innovation in its market..." MORE
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