On January 28, 2015, the Brazilian Ministry of Justice launched two public debates that are directly linked to the use of the Internet and to the protection of personal data: Law No. 12.965/2014 (the "Internet Law") which will be further regulated by a Decree-Law and the Data Protection Bill of Law (PL No. 181/14). Initially, public debates will remain open until February 26, 2015, but the deadline may be extended. Interested parties may provide opinions through the web portals available or directly through Twitter and Facebook.

The Internet Law addressed certain matters that would be subject to further regulation. Thus, the public consultation has been divided into four niches:

  • Net neutrality
  • Privacy online
  • Logs retention
  • Other issues and considerations

Net Neutrality – Free Internet

Article 9 of the Internet Law deals with net neutrality, which provides fair treatment within network traffic data packets, regardless of their content, origin and destination, service, terminal or application. The law has brought the concept of neutrality, but left the limits of the exceptions to such concept to be further regulated. Thus, this niche aims at discussing the specific exceptions to the neutrality principle, limited to technical requirements for the proper provision of services and applications, as well as prioritization of emergency services.

The Brazilian Internet Steering Committee (CGI) and the National Telecommunications Agency (Anatel) will be consulted for the regulation of exceptions. The CGI, responsible for establishing strategic guidelines related to the use and development of the Internet in Brazil, extended the deadline of the Contributions Call for regulation of the Internet Law until February 20, 2015. Also, according to information provided by Anatel, the agency also intends to organize a public consultation on the net neutrality principle and has already set up working groups to discuss occasional exceptions to the principle.

Privacy Online

The Internet Law contains certain provisions which intend to ensure the privacy of internet users and to protect personal data. However, the Internet Law generally ensures privacy rights to internet users and, thus, this niche of the consultation aims at clarifying the law's principles and rules, as well as the safety procedures and transparency which shall be specified thereunder. The discussion should permeate attempts for balancing an appropriate degree of protection, since strict safety standards generate costs for the parties which are responsible for data retention while the absence of an appropriate degree of care with information security may expose citizens' data.

Logs Retention

Retention of access records may facilitate the investigation of crimes committed over the internet without disregarding privacy or the users' freedom of expression, guaranteed by the Internet Law. This niche will discuss which access providers and internet applications are subject to retention of records obligations, as well as procedures to retain and request connection logs.

Other issues and considerations

This niche will allow for clarifications on certain issues that have been addressed by the Internet Law and which have not been covered by other sections of the public consultation. Also, it is possible to provide contributions in connection with governmental initiatives relating to the Internet within the limits of the purposes of the Decree-Law, provided that constitutional guarantees are respected: governmental initiatives in connection with topics covered by the law and detailing of legal concepts that are not covered by other niches of the consultation, as well as other considerations.

Data Protection Bill of Law

In addition to the public consultation on the regulation of the Internet Law, a consultation on the Data Protection Bill of Law has also been launched. The Bill of Law provides for the processing of personal data and intends to protect the personality and dignity of natural persons. One of the aspects of the discussion is the conceptual difference among personal, anonymous and sensitive data and measures to protect them. The discussion platform will be based on the suggestion of a text that was extracted from the public debate occurred between 2010 and 2011. The Ministry of Justice considers that it is essential to have a legal framework on data protection in Brazil, based on consent and legitimate use of data, mechanisms for rights exercise and minimum security and privacy standards for citizens. It should be noted that the Internet Law has no definition of personal or sensitive data.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.