World Bulletin / News Desk
The Brazilian government will not force Internet companies, such as Google, Facebook and Twitter, to set up data storage centers in Brazil, the country's president Dilma Rousseff said on Thursday, a day after signing the country's groundbreaking Internet bill into law.
A clause requiring that information about Brazilian Internet users be stored in local data centers in Brazil, subject to Brazilian law, was struck from the bill, dubbed the “Marco Civil,” to ensure it was passed after seven years' debate in Congress.
Opponents argued that businesses could be deterred from doing business in Brazil if they were forced to install costly data centers locally, where stifling bureaucracy, complex tax systems and poor infrastructure are already hampering investment.
Rousseff signed the widely-praised landmark bill, which guarantees Internet rights and neutrality, at the opening of a two-day NETmundial conference in São Paulo on the future of Internet governance, which concluded Thursday.
Responding to questions live via social media for the first time, Rousseff said: “The government will not insist on new legislation to set up data centers in the country,” clarifying comments from Telecommunications Minister Paulo Bernardo, who told conference-goers that the government would continue to press for accountable local data storage.
The bill, which Rousseff described as “assuring freedom of speech, privacy of the individual, and respect for human rights,” establishes a set of principles, guarantees and rights for Brazilians using the Internet. Some experts say it could be replicated worldwide.
Controlling the web
This week's global multi-stakeholder conference on Internet governance was attended by World Wide Web creator Sir Tim Berners-Lee, Google's vice president Vint Cerf and Internet freedom activist Nnenna Nwakanma.
Sir Berners-Lee said the Marco Civil was a “present for the 25th anniversary of the web” and that the Internet should be ruled by a “global public body,” while Nwakanma labeled the bill's signing into law as “a historic moment,” stressing the importance of the entire world accessing “the Internet freely and equally.”
The legislation was pushed through Congress in the wake of revelations in 2013 by wanted intelligence analyst Edward Snowden that the United States' National Security Agency (NSA) had spied on the Brazilian president, the country's state-run oil giant Petrobras, and the communications of ordinary Brazilians.
Ever since, Brazil has sought to champion Internet freedom and neutrality, and this week's conference has been viewed by many as an attempt to galvanize support.
The United States, which was represented at the conference and is seen by many as unfairly dominating the Internet, signaled it was willing to relinquish some of this control, namely over ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, which allocates domain names or addresses and has proven a source of tension in the past.
However, American representatives said they were keen to postpone further discussion on the topic until the Internet Governance Forum, to be held in Istanbul this September.
The NETmundial conference has brought together representatives from governments, civil society, the private sector, academia and the technical community of nearly 100 countries – all with equal standing – and said its two main goals are “the elaboration of principles of Internet governance and the proposal for a roadmap for future development of this ecosystem.”
Some participants suggest control of the Internet should be held under the framework of an international body, such as the United Nations.Last Mod: 25 Nisan 2014, 10:25