Dan Arnaudo, a Jackson School International Policy Institute Cybersecurity Fellow and JSIS MAIS alumnus, recently completed a lengthy research report examining the landmark Brazilian Internet Bill of Rights for the Igarapé Institute. The Brazilian bill is considered to be a model of Internet governance. Arnaudo’s report looks at this bill and unpacks the political, social, and economic context of it, including recent events:
Passed in 2014, the Marco Civil da Internet (MCI/The Brazilian Internet Bill of Rights) is a landmark in 21st century governance, both for Brazil and internationally. It codifies ten principles developed by the country’s Internet Steering Committee in the constitution, including network neutrality, freedom of expression and privacy, to define and grant strong civil rights for citizens both online and off. Using these principles as a framework, this report surveys the implementation of the MCI, as well as a host of other laws, bills and regulations relating to the Internet. This comes following the impeachment of former President Dilma Rousseff, whose Workers’ Party controlled the executive for more than 13 years and developed the MCI. These policies are being challenged by Rousseff’s former Vice-President and successor, President Michel Temer, and his allies in Congress. The report details Rousseff’s final actions to secure her digital legacy, signing decrees to implement the MCI, draft a national broadband plan and ensure freedom of information for any document not categorized as classified information by the bureaucracy. It analyzes key cybersecurity and data protection bills, including proposed laws emanating from a commission on cybercrime and numerous proposals to strengthen law enforcement investigations online. Judges in Brazil shut down WhatsApp’s instant messaging network three times over the past year when the company refused requests for data, and pressed Facebook and other companies with similar demands. The government and private corporations are constructing domestic and international Brazilian-owned infrastructure, including six new transatlantic fiber optic cables and a Geostationary Defense and Strategic Communications Satellite. As one of the world’s largest economies, a model in digital law, a member of the group of BRICS countries and a leader in the Global South, Brazil’s strategies for the virtual space, both physically and legally, provide a model for democratic Internet governance while illuminating both challenges and opportunities for any country connected to the global network.