Brazil to drop local data storage rule in Internet bill
By Anthony Boadle
BRASILIA, March 18 (Reuters) - 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.
She said the bill, which is opposed by Rousseff allies in the lower chamber of Congress, has enough support to be put to the vote on Wednesday.
Salvatti said the government will not negotiate a key provision in the bill on net neutrality, which has faced strong opposition from telecom companies in Brazil because it would bar them from introducing differential pricing according to Internet usage and speeds, such as higher rates for downloading videos.
Regulation of the business aspects of the new legislation can be done later by executive decree, she said.
The legislation dubbed Brazil's "Internet Constitution" protects freedom of expression, safeguards privacy and sets limits to the gathering and use of metadata on Internet users.
It ran into opposition from government allies in the PMDB party, Brazils largest, who opposed the net neutrality provision, while the requirement for in-country data storage had the Internet companies up in arms. They complained it would increase their costs and erect unnecessary barriers in one of the world's largest Internet markets. Continuación...