Internet giants come out against Brazil’s measure to store computer-user data

President Rousseff introduces bill in answer to alleged US spying activities in her country

Dilma Rousseff, en Brasilia el martes.
Dilma Rousseff, en Brasilia el martes.UESLEI MARCELINO (REUTERS)

While international fallout continues from the alleged spying activities conducted around the world by US intelligence agencies, the Brazilian Congress will vote in the coming days on a controversial bill that call for the creation of nationwide centers that will collect data of all internet users.

Brazil was one of the first countries to be publicly revealed as somewhere the United States had reportedly spied on hundreds of thousands of citizens, with the help of Brazilian telecoms, even allegedly monitoring the private phone calls of President Dilma Rousseff.

The allegations stem from information leaked by former National Security Agency contractor Edward J. Snowden, who is now living temporarily in Russia and who is wanted on federal charges in the United States.

Rousseff, who canceled her official visit to Washington that was scheduled to take place this week, had vowed to improve personal data protection in her country. But at least 45 local and international organizations have come out against the draft bill in a detailed document that lists a host of counter claims, which include invasion of privacy and a loss of competitiveness.

According to the bill, the Brazilian government will create centers for “the storage of data belonging to all natural or legal persons by the Brazilian internet providers.”

The 45 organizations, which include the US Council for International Business and the Information Technology Industry Council, which represents internet giants such as Amazon, Apple, Google and Facebook, argue that such a measure would have “collateral effects” such as hikes in internet fees and security leaks.

“Data security is not related to where information is stored, but instead how it is maintained and protected,” the groups said in a letter to Alessandro Molon, a deputy with the ruling Workers’ Party (PT). “This does not help in battling espionage.”

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