Por Dra. Soraya Imbassahy de Mello

The Civil Rights Framework for the Internet in Brazil will complete one year in June. The Law 12,965 as of 4/23/2014 was laid down on the basis of the principles of freedom of expression, privacy of individuals and respect for human rights. This text clarifies that the “access to the internet is essential to the exercise of citizenship”, and this access shall be universal so that it become a means for social development, aiming at a more inclusive and non-discriminatory society for everyone.

The key aspects of the Civil Rights Framework include privacy, freedom of expression and network neutrality. However, the major challenge, even at this stage, is whether the new law, in fact, will help users and businesses. Furthermore, it is also necessary to understand which measures are required to be taken by the companies in their practices in order to avoid potential sanctions.

Certainly, the first step for businesses will be to adapt the drafting of their Internet Terms of Use Agreements, making the responsibilities of those involved clearer, making the environment more reliable for the parties, whether for the consumer, or for those in the social network, for businesses that sell and present their brands, with the consequent strengthening of e-commerce in Brazil.

Among the key aspects of the Civil Rights Framework, the one that should be stressed out is the network neutrality, which is the ability of users to have access to any content, at their free choice, and of providers to make available such contents for users without any differential charging for type of service. Inserted in Article 9 of the law, the norm aims to avoid preference categories among users.

With regard to privacy, the recording of services provided must be stored by website operators in a safe manner for six months, and connectivity providers must keep records for a period of one year, in a safe and controlled environment, without passing the obligation to third parties. The information should be kept confidential and provided only through court order. However, the privacy relationship has not been established yet, either through use and privacy policies, whether providers should include in their websites to direct the “accepted” or “agree” or something equivalent to the service that will be provided.

It is emphasized that the cases of material containing reproduction of sexual acts or nudity are the only exception to the need for a court order to provide communication and access records. In this situation, the retracted user must submit a notification along with all elements that evidence the violation of his privacy and legitimacy for the immediate removal of the network. With regard to the responsibility for content, a website is not responsible for what is published by its users, for example, in social networks, but is forced to remove the content whenever this is determined by the courts. The punishments under the law include a Notice, fine of 10% of turnover, and suspension of activities.

After nearly year that the Law came into force, we still have doubts, particularly with regard to the audit of company´s practices, whether they are storing the data in safe environments and whether the user that had their data collected is being properly informed about what is being done with their data.

In conclusion, the Civil Rights Framework for the internet apparently brought more transparency regarding the custody of documents. In spite of being a new Law, which deals with innovative topics and in a rapidly growing environment, we move forward in a positive way, with hints particularly in the Brazilian Judicial Branch, which now has new elements for their decisions.

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