2016 – 2017: The Draft arrives at the House

Observatory’s Memory: Episode 2/5

After the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff, the Draft bill that had been gestated for six years at the Executive arrives at the House and becomes the object of a Special Commission led by representatives Bruna Furlan and Orlando Silva, who accelerated the processing of the matter.


As one of her last actions as president, Dilma Rousseff sends the Personal Data Protection Draft to the House of Representatives, on May 12th, 2016. On that same day, the Senate approves the opening of Dilma’s impeachment process and she is permanently removed from the position.


Several entities of civil society that had been organized and articulated through the approval of the Brazilian Civil Rights Framework for the Internet start to actively support the protection of personal data. In July, these entities create the Rights in Network Coalition.


On the other hand, companies and organizations representing the area of technology start to mobilize representatives from other sectors to participate in the discussion. At first, there was a misunderstanding on how the subject could affect the general economy.


At a certain point, there was an attempt by some of the private initiative’s sectors to set themselves apart from the reach of the Law.


The Draft is processed as Bill 5276/2016 and is sent to the Commission of Work, Administration and Public Service (CTASP). Representatives of the civil society search for someone among the CTASP representatives who could understand the importance of the subject. On May 20th, Orlando Silva (Communist Party of Brazil) is assigned as rapporteur of Bill 5276.


Meanwhile, Bill 330/2013 moves forward in the Senate. After its approval at the Committee on Science and Technology on October 13th, 2015, the Bill starts to be reported by Senator Ricardo Ferraço (Brazilian Social Democracy Party) at the Commission of Economic Affairs, on June 2nd, 2016.


At the House, Bills 5276/2016 and 4060/2012 are joined and Orlando Silva works so that they are processed by four Commissions, a case in which the house rules provide for the creation of an exclusive Special Commission to deal with the subject – which results in greater autonomy.


The Special Commission for the Protection of Personal Data is installed on October 26th, 2016. Orlando remains as rapporteur and Representative Bruna Furlan (Brazilian Social Democracy Party) is assigned as President. The duo had already worked together on the Immigration Act.


Both civil society and the private sector start working to make the subject of personal data protection better known and more palatable for the general audience. The result is a series of actions, such as the campaign “You Are Your Data”, from the  Rights in Network Coalition.


There was also some political articulation with parliamentarians in order to bring them closer to the discussion and increase the level of knowledge of the representatives responsible for discussing the law.


An example of such an initiative is a manifest headed by Brasscom, the Brazilian Association of Information and Communication Technology Companies.


Because they had different perspectives on several aspects of the rules of personal data protection at the time, civil society and the private sector occupied opposite positions and did not work together.


On December 6th, 2016, the Special Commission promotes the first public hearing on the subject. The meeting has the participation of representatives from civil society, the private sector, academia and the government.


Altogether, the Special Commission organizes 11 public hearings and 2 international seminars – the last one happened on July 12th, 2017. Divided into central thematic aspects of the law, these meetings assist the stakeholders involved to debug the understanding of several concepts linked to Data Protection.


Throughout 2016 and 2017, protection of personal data is the main topic of discussion in several other events and seminars around Brazil, such as the Workshop on Protection of Rights and the Industry of Personal Data, promoted by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation of Brazil (MCTIC).


Also in 2017, the MCTIC included the need for the approval of a data protection law – as well as the creation or identification of an entity responsible for applying it – within the Brazilian Digital Strategy.


The recurring meetings end up reducing the tensions between the representatives of civil society/academia and the private sector on several aspects of Bill 5276. However, the subject was still far from being at the center of the public debate, and by the end of 2017, there was no perspective of it being approved.