We need to take a lesson from Brazil
While the world has been deciding who governs the internet, Brazil has been busy establishing internet rules of its own — and they may just set an example for everyone else. The country has passed a bill of rights that goes some length towards protecting net neutrality and privacy. To start, the law promises equal access to the internet; carriers can’t charge more for bandwidth-heavy services like streaming video.
Privacy is also cornerstone of the bill. While the law dropped a measure that would have forced internet companies to store data in Brazil, it’s limiting the reach of metadata — the country wants to avoid the surveillance controversies it saw in the US. International companies will still be subject to local laws whenever there’s a case involving Brazilians’ data, although a safe harbor provision will protect telecoms from liability for whatever their users do.
The legislation isn’t a perfect match for what open internet advocates want. It protects free speech, but providers will still have to take down content if a court deems it offensive. However, it ticks a lot of familiar checkboxes. It also stands in sharp contrast to the US, which may be drifting away from a neutral internet and is still grappling with surveillance collection reforms.