The so-called "Marco Civil da Internet" (Civil Rights Framework for the Internet) is now Law 12,965/2014 and will be in force after sixty (60) days of its official publication in the Official Gazette, which occurred on April 24, 2014.

The Government pressed the senators to vote the bill before the Global Multistakeholder Conference on the Future of Internet Governance, which is being held in Brazil this week. President Dilma Rousseff sanctioned the Marco Civil da Internet during the first day of the Conference and presented it as a flagship of the Brazilian efforts related to internet and privacy matters.

The wording approved by the Senate (Senado) and sanctioned by President Dilma Rousseff has no substantial changes in relation to the wording that had been approved by the Brazilian House of Representatives (Câmara dos Deputados) in March.

As mentioned in our previous alert, the Government gave up including an "storage localization" provision in the bill of law that originated Law 12,965/2014.

Instead of a "storage localization" provision, Law 12,965/2014 contains several other provisions aiming at increasing and ensuring the protection of personal data and privacy. For instance, article 11 establishes that the collection, process or storage of records, personal data or communications by Internet connection providers and Internet application providers in Brazil will be subject to Brazilian law, even if performed by a foreign entity. The law also establishes specific penalties in case of violation of such provisions.

Briefly, Law 12,965/2014 (i) establishes and confirms individual rights in the Internet environment (e.g. protection of privacy, freedom of speech and expression, protection of personal data, etc.) and principles like preservation and assurance of neutrality and participatory nature of the Internet; (ii) establishes rules regarding civil liability of intermediary parties (e.g. Internet connection providers and Internet application providers); and (iii) establishes some principles for the action of public authorities in connection with Internet issues.

Law 12,965/2014 establishes, for instance, that the Internet connection providers are (i) obliged to keep records of the connection access logs in a safe place for one year and (ii) forbidden to keep records of application access logs or to disclose access records to third parties without the person's consent or a judicial order.

There is also a provision obliging Internet application providers that carry out their activity in an organized, professional manner, with economic purposes to keep records of application access logs in a safe place for six months. There was a group in the Global Multistakeholder Conference on the Future of Internet Governance protesting against the inclusion of this provision under the argument that it weakens the Internet users privacy rights. Even with the protests, President Dilma Rousseff has not vetoed this mandatory data retention provision nor any other provision.

One of the most controversial points discussed during the past weeks was the regulation of the principle of Internet neutrality. Regardless of the pressure from telecom companies, the principle was included. According to article 9, the person or entity responsible for transmission, switching or routing of Internet traffic is obliged to treat equally all data packages – i.e. Internet connection providers are not allowed to provide different services or data packages based on the content, origin or destiny of data. Any exception to such principle will need to be regulated by the President through a Decree, after consulting with the Brazilian Internet Steering Committee and the National Telecommunications Agency (ANATEL), and may only result from (i) technical requirements essential to the adequate provision of services and applications; and (ii) prioritization of emergency services.

Adriano Chaves and Maria Paula Souza are, respectively, partner and associate in Campos Mello Advogados' Corporate practice.

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