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Keep the Pressure On: Brazilian Online Surveillance Bills Threaten Digital Rights and Innovation

The Brazilian Chamber of Deputies is about to vote on seven bills that were introduced as part of a report by the Brazilian Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry on Cybercrimes (CPICIBER). Collectively, these bills would be disastrous for privacy and freedom of expression in Brazil. That's why EFF is joining a coalition of Brazilian civil society groups in opposing the bills. As the vote takes place on April 27, it's crucial that we voice our concerns to CPICIBER members now.

The CPICIBER was created in July 2015 by House President Eduardo Cunha as a request from Sibá Machado (PT). The CPICIBER was charged with investigating online crimes and their effects on the Brazilian economy and society. The CPICIBER worked from August 2015 to April 2016 and published a report with an analysis of how Brazil is dealing with a high number of crimes against the financial system and the increase in racist messages online. The report provides recommendations for how the country should respond to the threat of online crime. Although many stakeholders participated in the CPICIBER hearings, the report ultimately gave in to excessive panic about the Internet. The final proposals represent a range of repressive measures that trample on free expression and privacy rights.

Along with our partners at ARTIGO19, Access Now, Coding Rights, Intervozes and Instituto Beta, The Electronic Frontier Foundation urges everyone to tell members of the CPICIBER to oppose these draconian bills:

Take ActionFight Back Against Brazil’s Draconian New Cybercrime Bills

Take ActionCombata os novos PLs autoritários contra cibercrimes no Brasil.

The bills proposed by the CPICIBER contain alarming proposals such as:

  • Allowing police warrantless access to IP addresses;
  • Requiring sites and apps to monitor content to prevent new sharing of materials already deemed offensive by court decision;
  • Criminalizing improper computer system access that presents a “risk of misuse or disclosure” of data, even if no actual misuse or disclosure occurs—broad and vague terms that also apply to actions with no criminal intent, jeopardizing legitimate security research that might never be done if obtaining prior permission were a legal requirement;
  • Allowing judges, in direct violation of net neutrality rules, to block sites and applications that are used for criminal purposes or that don’t comply with demands for user information.

As the CPICIBER will be discussing this proposed legislation, it is important for Brazilians to keep the pressure on! The fight against cybercrime must not threaten the Brazilian Marco Civil da Internet (the 2014 law that protects certain Internet freedoms), let alone the Brazilian Constitution!

The proposed bills roll back existing safeguards for freedom of expression and privacy online and could be disastrous for the future of the Internet in Brazil. In the words of Instituto Beta Executive Director Paulo Rená:

After dozens of public hearings, a report was presented with seven draft bills and more than a handful of serious threats to fundamental human rights protection in the digital realm. In particular, it undermines some of the core guarantees of Marco Civil da Internet.

Jamila Venturini, researcher at the Center for Technology and Society at FGV Law School in Rio, continued:

The writing in some of the proposed bills is ambiguous and may legitimize abuses to the principle of net neutrality and the protection of freedom of expression and privacy online. This represents a setback to the guarantees granted to Internet users by the Marco Civil da Internet, ignoring the long and open process of discussions that led to its approval in 2014 and going against some of the main international human rights guidelines.

Lucas Texeira, Technical Director, Coding Rights:

In a world where the divide between online and offline gets more blurred every day, Brazilian people who care about openness and freedom should pay close attention to what is at stake here and engage in the debate. Various measures promoted by the CPICIBER report—such as warrantless access to IP addresses—put rights such as freedom of speech, privacy and self-determination in great peril, especially in Brazil, a country with such a high occurrence of police abuse against political activists, human rights defenders, journalists, and other vulnerable groups.

Veridiana Alimonti, coordinator of Intervozes:

The bills would allow law enforcement to gather IP addresses without a warrant and would make standards for already-established crimes even more vague so that they may encompass conduct that is not necessarily illegal. Websites and apps would be compelled to monitor all published content, automatically taking down anything considered 'offensive.' ISPs would be required to monitor and block Internet applications that don’t cooperate with law enforcement, something that is already too often used disproportionately by the Judiciary. If these bills are passed, all users have the potential of being targeted as criminals by websites and ISPs. These online surveillance bills are an enormous threat to digital rights and great setback from what we achieved with ‘Marco Civil’ of the Internet!

Take ActionFight Back Against Brazil’s Draconian New Cybercrime Bills

Take ActionCombata os novos PLs autoritários contra cibercrimes no Brasil.

More information:

Coding Rights, Instituto Beta, Intervozes: Considerações sobre a CPI de Crimes Cibernéticos

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