Brazil's anti-spy Internet bill clears lower house vote
By Anthony Boadle
BRASILIA, March 25 (Reuters) - 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.
Instead, the bill says companies such as Google Inc and Facebook Inc are subject to Brazilian laws and courts in cases involving information on Brazilians, even if the data is stored on servers abroad.
The government refused to drop another a key provision on net neutrality that was opposed by telcom companies because it bars them from charging higher prices for different content, such as video streaming and voice services such as Skype.
The legislation dubbed Brazil's "Internet Constitution" protects freedom of expression and sets limits to the gathering and use of metadata about Internet users.
Experts, such as World Wide Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee, have praised the bill for balancing the rights and duties of individuals, governments and corporations, while ensuring the Internet continues to be an open and decentralized network.
Following the spying revelations by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, including allegations that the NSA secretly collected data stored on servers by Internet companies such as Google and Yahoo Inc, Brazil sought to force them to store data on Brazilian servers in the country. Continuación...