Personal Democracy Plus Our premium content network. LEARN MORE You are not logged in. LOG IN NOW >

El Marco Civil: An Internet Success Story

BY Jessica McKenzie | Wednesday, March 26 2014

Brazil--a new world leader of net neutrality and an open and free Internet? (Wikipedia)

Yesterday evening the Brazilian Chamber of Deputies approved the Marco Civil bill, which contains significant protections for net neutrality, user privacy and security, and freedom of expression. The bill is the product of years of work, including a public consultation period in 2009 and 2010. The day of the vote many Brazilians took part in a “compartilhaço” or “sharing storm” on social media, tagging messages of support for the bill #EuQueroMarcoCivil (#IWantMarcoCivil), which became a worldwide trending topic March 25, the day of the vote.

Carolina Rossini, one of the three original authors of the bill, and now a lawyer at the New America Foundation, told Global Voices:

I feel my Carnival has finally arrived after years of work in partnership with various civil society, academia, policy makers and business groups that understand the Internet as a space for democracy and innovation! This is a collective victory, nationally and internationally.

Some of the things that the Marco Civil would establish include: guaranteeing net neutrality; protecting Internet companies from liability for third party content (except in cases where a court orders content removed); and a strong “Internet bill of rights” that supports freedom of expression, interoperability, protection for personal data, and open government data, among other things.

Notably absent from the current iteration of the Marco Civil bill is the stipulation that Brazilians' data be held within Brazil's borders, an idea floated after the Snowden revelations revealed the extent of NSA surveillance.

Even supporters of the bill acknowledge that Marco Civil isn't perfect—the protections for net neutrality are less rigorous than they could be, allowing for possibly too much future interference from telecommunications companies—but all in all, people agree it's “probably the best possible outcome given the existing political limitations.”

Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web, called it “the best possible birthday gift for Brazilian and global Web users.”

The World Wide Web turned 25 on March 12.

Personal Democracy Media is grateful to the Omidyar Network and the UN Foundation for their generous support of techPresident's WeGov section.

For a round-up of our weekly stories, subscribe to the WeGov mailing list.

News Briefs

RSS Feed friday >

First POST: Spoilers

How the GOP hasn't fixed its tech talent gap; the most tech-savvy elected official in America, and the most tech-savvy state-wide candidate; and much, much more. GO

thursday >

First POST: Hot Spots

How Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg is making inroads in China; labor protests among Uber drivers spread to more cities; new data about the prevalence of online harassment; and much, much more. GO

wednesday >

First POST: Reminders

Why the RNC hasn't managed to reboot how Republican campaigns use voter data; new ways of using phone banking to get out the vote; how the UK's digital director is still ahead of the e-govt curve; and much, much more. GO

tuesday >

First POST: Patient Zero

Monica Lewinsky emerges with a mission to fight cyber-bullying; Marc Andreessen explains his political philosophy; tech donors to MayDay PAC get pushback from Congressional incumbents; and much, much more. GO

monday >

First POST: Front Pagers

How Facebook's trending topics feed is wrecking political news; debating the FBI's need for an encrypted phone "backdoor"; democratizing crisis data; and much, much more. GO

More