Internet-rights pundits had been waiting with baited breath for the Brazilian Congress’s vote on a proposed internet bill of rights—the so-called “Marca Civil da Internet.” That vote, which was scheduled for August 8, 2012, was canceled at the last minute without explanation. The proposed bill represents a unique, collaborative effort with the public—whose input was solicited by legislators via the internet—to regulate internet use not by defining prohibited acts, but rather by prescribing affirmative rights for internet users and service providers. The bill’s stated goal is to make the internet more open and transparent by establishing internet neutrality. But the bill is not without its detractors, who claim that its expansive protections for internet service providers regarding content are both a recipe for disaster and in contradiction with existing Brazilian legislation. Regardless of one’s position on the bill, which does enjoy significant popular support, the cancelation of the vote was disappointing to many, who see the proposed legislation as an in important step in defining internet rights. A new date for the vote has yet to be scheduled.

Additional Information:For the complete text of the proposed legislation click here.

For additional articles on the history and background of the Marca Civil da Internet, click here and here.