Congress to vote on hotly debated internet crime bill in August

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Brazilian internet crime bill PL 84/99 sparked diverging opinions during a public hearing held by several congressional committees in the lower house, according to a statement from parliament.

The bill - debated by the committees of science and technology, communications and IT, public safety, and human rights - is slated to be voted on August 10 by the science and technology committee.

PL 84/99 was approved by the lower house in 2003, then sent to the senate and returned to the former in 2008, where it received emergency status.

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Those in favor of the proposal say approval is urgent since many cybercrimes - such as virus propagation and bank fraud - go unpunished, while opponents believe it violates users' privacy and might even be interpreted to penalize activities such as file or music transfer.

Also, some say that before enacting a law on cyber crime, civil rules governing internet must first be approved, establishing rights and obligations of users and providers. The regulation, under discussion in the executive branch, has not been sent to congress.

But "there is no need to first establish the rights related to the field. In the case of the environment, for example, criminal laws were established without legislation on environmental rights," said lawmaker Eduardo Azeredo, a member of the science and technology committee.

One of the proposal's thorny aspects is the requirement that ISPs maintain users' data for three years to help in crime investigations.

Use this link to see the history of the PL 84/99 bill, in Portuguese.