Monitoring internet usage in Brazil

As France just approved its version of a law to monitor Internet usage (Hadopi – High Authority for the Broadcast of Content and the Protection of Rights on the Internet) under the veil of stopping illegal downloaders from having Internet access, Brazil has its own version in the works.

The “Lei Azeredo” which was approved in the Senate mid-year in 2008 and on its way to being approved as an official law, criminalizes thirteen acts made possible by the Internet. The criminalization is just the veil under which Internet usage would be monitored by law and kept on record for three years, including what sites you visited, when and for how long. As with most laws internationally, the “positive” side is highlighted while the negative side is tucked away in the back somewhere in fine print.

Critics are comparing the “Lei Azeredo”, named after the Senator Eduardo Azeredo, to the AI-5 (Institutional Act 5) which is one of the principal signs of a military dictatorship in Brazil. The AI-5 was authored in 1968 and gave permission to the President of the Republic of Brazil to ignore checks and balances and suspend the political rights of any citizen. While invoking such a resemblance might be seen as going too far, it is very important to always search out the hidden ramifications of any law that is a threat to liberty. Often times, citizens consider “being informed” as watching the news and reading the newspaper in order to understand multi-faceted and complex laws when in reality, they are merely being herded like sheep.

“When you consult specialists, you would see that there isn’t any kind of threat being made against freedom on the Internet, there is no spying being done online. The objective is to combat crimes”, affirmed the Senator.

Apparently, the Senator knows how to invoke something from his own arsenal, the “expert religion”, which depends on experts and authorities to give the people their ideas and opinions. What is important here is to think for yourself and to begin to ask yourself fundamental questions such as, “what is a law?” Perhaps you may see that the terms legal and illegal don’t always coincide with right and wrong, that they are merely terms for acts and ideas which lawmakers deem to be right and wrong.

– Adam