Brazilian Congress passes Internet bill of rights
By Anthony Boadle
BRASILIA, April 22 (Reuters) - Brazil's Senate unanimously approved groundbreaking legislation on Tuesday that guarantees equal access to the Internet and protects the privacy of Brazilian users in the wake of U.S. spying revelations.
President Dilma Rousseff, who was the target of U.S. espionage according to documents leaked by former NSA analyst Edward Snowden, plans to sign the bill into law. She will present it on Wednesday at a global conference on the future of the Internet, her office said in a blog.
The legislation, dubbed Brazil's "Internet Constitution," has been hailed by experts, such as the British physicist and World Wide Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee, for balancing the rights and duties of users, governments and corporations while ensuring the Internet continues to be an open and decentralized network.
To guarantee passage of the bill, Rousseffs government had to drop a contentious provision that would have forced global Internet companies to store data on their Brazilian users on data center servers inside the country.
The rule was added to the bill after revelations last year that the U.S. National Security Agency had spied on the personal Internet communications of Brazilians, including those of Rousseff among other world leaders.
Instead, the bill says companies such as Google Inc and Facebook Inc will be subject to Brazil's laws and courts in cases involving information on Brazilians, even if the data is stored on servers abroad.
The government refused to drop a net neutrality provision that was fiercely opposed by telecom companies because it bars them from charging higher rates for access to content that uses more bandwidth, such as video streaming and voice services like Skype.
The legislation protects freedom of expression and information, establishing that service providers will not be liable for content published by users, but they must comply with court orders to remove offensive or libelous material. Continuación...