Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has ratified a bill guaranteeing Internet privacy and access to the Web. It comes as Sao Paulo hosts a global conference on Internet governance.
The legislation, which was passed by parliament late on Tuesday, puts limits on the storage of Brazilian Internet users' metadata. It also makes Internet service providers not liable for content published by their users and requires them to comply with court orders to remove offensive material.
Rousseff, who was in Sao Paulo for the opening of the NetMundial global conference on Internet governance, has been at the forefront of efforts to formally recognize Internet freedom and privacy.
Last year, when it was revealed that she had been under surveillance by the National Security Agency (NSA), Rousseff cancelled a state visit to the US and started to champion Internet freedom and privacy.
Speaking at the opening of NetMundial, she said that "the Internet we want will only be possible in a scenario of respect for human rights, in particular the right to privacy and freedom of expression."
Despite her differences with the US, Rousseff praised Washington for its decision to hand over the management ofICANN and IANA, which manage the Internet's global domain name system, next September.
"I salute the US government's recently announced plan to replace its links to IANA and ICANN with a global management of those institutions," she said on Wednesday.
During the two-day conference, government officials, industry executives and academics from around the world are expected to agree on a set of principles to enhance online privacy that does not overly restrict the Internet's self-regulated nature.
They will also debate how to govern the Internet after the US hands over the reins at ICANN. The meeting's resolutions are non-binding, but Brazil hopes they can serve as the foundation for further discussions on Internet governance.
The main challenge is to find common ground between different governments and corporate Internet giants like Facebook and Google, who are opposed to more regulation.
ng/rc (AP, Reuters)