Rio De Janeiro: Brazil`s president asked legislators to urgently vote on a bill that would force foreign companies to store all data about their Brazilian clients on servers based in the country, a move seen as essential for user security after repeated reports of Internet spying by the US in Brazil.
The "Internet constitution" bill has lingered in the lower house since 2011 and includes many provisions extending protections to Web users in Latin America`s biggest nation, one of the globe`s biggest users of social media like Facebook and Twitter.
President Dilma Rousseff met earlier this week with the bill`s sponsor, Deputy Alessandro Molon of the governing Workers Party, and asked that he insert language into the bill that would force Internet companies to keep their servers on Brazilian soil if they want to do business in the country, the lawmaker`s office said. That would force companies to follow Brazilian privacy laws for the information on those servers.
A Molon spokesman, who would not allow his name to be used because he wasn`t yet authorised to speak on the matter, said the legislator and his team were ironing out the exact language to be included in the bill.
The president`s office confirmed that Rousseff met with Molon and Communications Minister Paulo Bernardo Silva on Tuesday, but referred all questions about the meeting to the legislator and the minister. After hours calls to the ministry rang unanswered. A statement on the website of the lower house confirmed that Rousseff requested urgent action on the bill.
Rousseff and other officials have been enraged at revelations that the US National Security Agency`s espionage programs targeting global communications have focused on Brazil. Globo television has aired several reports about the NSA`s focus on Brazil, based upon documents leaked by Edward Snowden to American journalist Glenn Greenwald, who resides in Rio and has worked with Globo.
Among the revelations have been that the NSA intercepted Rousseff`s communications with her top aides, that the agency is intercepting a huge amount of Internet traffic that flows through Brazil, and that its espionage programs have targeted Brazil`s state-run oil company Petrobras.
Technology companies like Facebook, Yahoo, Google and Microsoft have been forced to comply with US government orders to turn over information about users under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.