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Internet Surveillance in Brazil (2)

January 24, 2009

I’ve been catching up with what has been going on in Brazil in terms of Internet surveillance over the past few months. The good news is that the opposition has had some success in persuading several members of Brazil’s lower house, the Chamber of Deputies, to take their criticisms seriously.

Sérgio Amadeu, who is an Professor at the Faculade Cásper Líbero in São Paulo, a self-described ‘militant for free software’, and one of the originators of the ‘NÃO’ campaign against the proposed bill of Senator Azeredo, reported in December on the outcome of a public consultation on the bill and a flashmob protest against it in São Paulo in November. The outcome has been that a new counter-proposal is being developed by various activist organisations and individuals together with Deputy Julio Semeghini favouring Internet freedom. In fact, the proposal would recast Azeredo’s proposed law on the basis of net citizenship rather than cybercrime.

Professor Amadeu claims that now the Ministry of Justice is in contact with the campaign and that the Secretary for Legislative Affairs at the Ministry, Pedro Abramovay, has apparently shown that he is rather more interested in an appropriate balance between Internet freedom and security. I am always rather suspicious about talk of ‘balance’ in these contexts, and we still don’t know who these impressions will be transformed into action or how many lower house legislators share Deputy Semeghini’s view, but it sounds like there is some reason to be positive – that and the fact that as of today, 134494 people have signed the petition against Azeredo’s bill.

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