Brazil takes a lead in the future of the Internet

Brazil takes a lead in the future of the Internet

Summary: IT policy secretary: "We are sowing the seeds of a debate that has only just begun"


The Brazilian government believes that it is in a strong position to lead the debate around global Internet governance and hopes to "energize" other countries to participate more actively in the future of the Net.

When debating the topics to be discussed at next week's Internet governance event NETmundial, the information technology policy secretary at the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation Virgílio Almeida, remarked that Brazil has the authority to be a leader in the subject of Internet governance.

"Not a lot of countries have a body like the [Brazilian Internet steering committee], which is a truly multistakeholder organization that has been in place for over 20 years and provided the source of the principles that will shape next week's discussions," Almeida told ZDNet.

"Our own Internet Bill of Rights, the Marco Civil, has already been voted by the Lower Chamber of the Congress and is due to be voted by the Senate. The Marco Civil is the result of a democratic process and something that prioritizes citizen rights. This also puts us in a very good position to discuss the future of Internet governance," Almeida added.

According to the IT policy secretary, the United States government plan to end its contractual oversight of ICANN over certain key aspects of Internet addressing and naming makes NETmundial "is even more timely."

"The multistakeholder nature of the event provides a good environment to have a productive debate about the freedom and openness of the Internet," Almeida said.

"It is important to emphasize that this conference is just the beginning of something greater, a process to strengthen global Internet governance issues," he added. 

"We are sowing the seeds of a debate that has only just begun. But we also want concrete results, real actions to come out of this event."

Critics have said that the US plan to end the ICANN contract is a dangerous move for the future of the Internet. For example, Republican members of the US House of Representatives Judiciary Committee believe that letting go of ICANN could encourage other countries to attempt to seize control of the Web - but the secretary denied that Brazil would want to do anything to that effect.

"We do not want the ICANN to end of anything along those lines. But we do want a more globalized mechanism that would allow these discussions to take place in a multistakeholder environment," Almeida said, referring to the model that ICANN itself has advocated since the 1990s. 

"Also, we are not planning to host another meeting like NETmundial. But we do hope that these discussions around concerns that are not only technical, but also social and political, will help energize other countries to have their own discussions about Internet governance," the secretary added.

It was expected that one of the key topics to be addressed at the conference next week would be the adoption of anti-surveillance policies. However, the US has already said that it will not entertain any debate around the reach or limitations of state sovereignty in Internet policy.

When questioned about the stance the government would take on the spying matter, secretary Almeida said the conference will not have a slot dedicated to that particular subject and that the issue, which will be addressed within the block around the right to privacy on the Internet.

Since the NSA spying accusations became public, Brazil and Germany have pushed for a United Nations resolution for online privacy to be recognised as a human right and also for "no-spy" agreements with the US. However, when asked whether Brazil will be trying to get a consensus at NETmundial, Almeida said that "there is no schedule" for the matter to be resolved.

Internet governance NETmundial will take place on April 23-24, with about 600 delegates from 85 countries expected to attend, representing the civil society, private sector and the government.

Topics: Privacy, Government, Security, IT Security in the Snowden Era

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  • And?

    Why would the US (or any other government) honor such an agreement even if they were to sign one? It's too big and juicy a target to pass on. Any agreement wouldn't be worth the paper it's written on. (assuming they still use paper)

    Not getting caught with your hand in the cookie jar is what's on the NSA's agenda these days.
    • It's just a conference for debate

      No agreement is going to be signed by anyone anyway. At most, there should be a final statement, but that's all. As the IT secretary said himself, "this conference is just the beginning of something greater, a process to strengthen global Internet governance issues. (...) We are sowing the seeds of a debate that has only just begun."
  • If you actually want other governments to make agreements with you...'s helpful if you're keeping the agreements you've already made.

    Trust is important.
    John L. Ries
  • What the almost communist brazilian government wants is ...

    to castrate the users, the midia in Brazil is in its majority already controlled by the state.The televisions networks are afraid of loosing the publicity money that is largely distributed between them.
    The news are the ones they would like them to publish just like Chavez did in Venezuela or Castro brothers in Cuba.
    The social media is the only thing that still has its liberty and it´s about tpo loose if that thing called Marco Civil is approved.
    It was tru twitter and facebook that the brazilians had wake up for the atrocities commited in Venezuela by the brazilian honoured Nicolas Maduro, it was tru those means that the last June rallies were made possible.
    The corrupted government is afraid of the Internet. It pays a lot of money for the bots that overpopulated twitter with messages boasting the wonderful world that the marco civil will bring to Brazil. They want to hide the cookie jar so the only dirty hands to polluted the jar will be theirs !!!

    The hashtag is #todoscontramarcocivil and #naoaomarcocivil !! Everyone against marco civil and No to the marco civil.

    • How I hate conspiracy theories!

      Come on, if the government really controlled the press like Maduro, Correa and Castro do, nobody would ever hear about the troubles with Petrobras, and we wouldn't see columnists lambasting the government (especially in the economic arena) every day on the papers. You don't know how a real authoritarian government works. I do - I'm old enough to remember the military. And for the record, the one who really tried to do that to the press (and was very successful) was Aécio Neves, when he was governor of Minas Gerais. Ask any journalist in Belo Horizonte. His late grandfather, who was no saint and one of the smartest foxes ever in Brazilian politics, but definitely had limits and principles, would be scandalized with the chutzpah and the truculent methods he used. You didn't hear about it? I thought so...

      Communist, PT? Are you serious? A party that has very effectively silenced and neutralized its radical sectors and learned to play the game of power and money in the "House of Cards" of Brasília better than all their right-wing predecessors that they used to fight when they weren't in power yet? A party that has notorious "bon vivants" like José Dirceu and Delúbio Soares, who are trying hard to live the good life with privileges even in their well-deserved prison? If they are Communist, then they are like the pigs at the end of Orwell's "Animal Farm", if you know what I'm talking about... In fact, the comparison seems very appropriate: I look at their faces, look at PSDB and all others, and all I see is the same corrupt, power-hungry people with exactly the same goals and methods. No real difference.

      As for the Marco Civil, it does have a lot of flaws and dangerous ambiguities, as well as a generous dose of cheesy populism, but when the universally loathed telcos that charge us extorsively to provide mediocre services are its fiercest opponents, that definitely means something...
      • PT Communist or worst.

        Petrobras spill is just a preemptive move to take it out of the election period. By that time, the subject will be exhausted... Did you see how the investigation about the Petrobras was avoided at all costs by the government??? The losses are bigger than all spent for building the soccer stadiums... then look at the gifts for African dictators, and then look at the gifts for Bolivia (Petrobras assets were left there...) and the gifts for the Argentinians...
        In reality PT is just another group of criminals that only want to take advantage of human misery, if not, where is the "Sao Francisco Transposicao", and why Lulinha is so rich now, when twelve years ago he was cleaning Sao Paulo's zoo manure? Plain and dishonest people that just like to be in power to continue benefiting themselves.
  • Duh

    More govts need to be involved in internet governance to control the flow of data to the citizens. Everyone knows that the avg citizen isn't capable of making the right choices in life, so they need the govt to take care of them and restrict what they are exposed to online.

    This is only common sense in a FAIR and MODERN society.