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    Brazil: A Threatened Digital Generation Fights for the Open Web
    James Nagy
    / Categories: Technology

    Brazil: A Threatened Digital Generation Fights for the Open Web

    If you’ve been paying attention in the social media and tech world over the last few weeks, you may have heard that there is some conflict in Brazil.  Recently, a Brazilian judge shut down WhatsApp and it’s looking more and more like Brazil’s congress wants to shut down the social web next.  Currently, WhatsApp is the single most used app in Brazil, with about 93 million users, or 93% of the country’s internet population.  The court-ordered 48 hour blackout across Brazil was instated as a result of the app refusing to turn over data in an investigation.   It came back online 12 hours into the blackout after a second judge ruled that “it does not seem reasonable that millions of users are affected” and suggested a financial penalty instead.  The bigger question on people’s minds currently is –what’s next?

    First we should explain that Brazil is basically the “Social Media Capital of the Universe: Brazilians are the #2 or #3 audience on every major global social platform, and on a per-user basis, Brazilians spend almost double the time on social media as Americans.”  So, if you consider these facts, you can see that shutting down the number one app in the country is a huge deal.  You can also see how people start to question what moves are coming next.

    According to TechCrunch, currently:

    If the anti-privacy legislation Brazilian Congress has on the table makes its way into law, companies like WhatsApp, Facebook and Google will have drastically increased obligations to collect, retain and share sensitive user data with the government […]If Brazil’s conservative Congress gets its way, they’re going to take down the entire social web as we know it, with bills circulating through the legislature to criminalize posting social media content and to allow the government to spy on its citizens.

    The details seem like something straight out of a science fiction novel, but in actuality –some adaptation of these laws is a very real possibility.  Right now, proposed law PL 215/15, or the “Big Spy”, is a surveillance law that would require Brazilians to enter their sensitive information to access all sites and apps on the internet.  This information would include their tax IDs, home addresses and phone numbers.  To take it a step even further, it will require social media and internet companies (like Facebook and Google) to store that information for up to three years and also to provide access to this information to police with a court order.

    There are a whole host of issues that come up with these proposed laws.  Some include a centralized database of internet users (meant to keep children from accessing inappropriate content), the ability for politicians to censor social media, and so much more.  

    So, what do you think? Is this “Big Brother” government necessary? Or do you consider these laws a supreme violation of a person’s freedom of expression and right to privacy? Should we be viewing social media and apps as a threat to be managed?  When you look at a country even more “social” than the United States, is this a glimpse into what we could be fighting against in the future? What can we do now? Comment below!

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    James Nagy

    James NagyJames Nagy

    Looking for a business consultant, how can I help? As Co-Founder and Managing Partner of J&S Tech Designs, I have three decades of experience and expertise to share with you and help your business, product, or idea thrive.

    Other posts by James Nagy
    Contact author Full biography

    Full biography

    As a strategic leader and entrepreneur, James Nagy has a record of generating growth by leveraging the latest technologies to drive sales, marketing, product development, and profitability. He is known for identifying and capitalizing on market trends, developing effective tactics for implementation, enhancing operating performance, and serving as a trusted advisor and business partner. Skilled at working across operations, James builds strong, cross-functional relationships and communicates complex technical information to diverse internal and external stakeholders.

    A big picture visionary, James identifies and reacts to market trends, providing disruptive strategies that go beyond IT to include sales, marketing, and product portfolio management. Building on his experience as Director of Software Development with premier companies Midas International Corporation and SXC Health Solutions, Inc., James launched two successful consulting companies, Sprocket Websites Inc. and J&S Tech Designs. As the Managing Director, he provides innovative solutions to clients in small- and mid-cap companies.

    When he is not advising other business leaders, James lends his expertise to a variety of organizations. He is a Founding Member & Committee Member of the Greater Conejo Valley Chamber of Commerce; he serves on multiple teams and committees for the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce; he is a Founding Member of the Chicago Area DNN User Group, and he serves on the Board of Directors of the New West Symphony. In his free time, James enjoys Sci-Fi, coin collecting, traveling and wine tasting.


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