Providers of internet content must store data of users for at least three years

The Superior Court of Justice ("STJ") has rendered a decision determining that providers of internet content must store data of users for at least three years. The ruling stems from a lawsuit involving the trustee of a university and Yahoo! and is only effective for such parties, but nonetheless indicates how the STJ may interpret similar cases from now on.

After an unidentified person posted an offensive message against a group of low-income students in a forum of students and professors of a university in the service "Yahoo! Grupos", the university's trustee filed a precautionary measure against Yahoo! in order to identify the author of the offensive message. In its defense, Yahoo! claimed that it was not legally obliged to store data of users, which had already been deleted from its registries in view of the cancellation of the service.

Following judgments in trial and appellate level, the case reached the STJ, which held that data of users of internet services must be stored for at least 3 years, grounded on a section of the Brazilian Civil Code. According to the Reporting Minister (Nancy Andrighi), "when offering a service of internet content, the provider must collect and store data for identification of its users, in order to ensure to third parties injured by the abusive use of the service – consumers under section 17 of the Brazilian Consumer Defense Code – means of obtaining concrete information regarding the author of the illicit act".

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