Week in Review: October 6, 2015

by Muira McCammon

Brazil: Politicians Debate the Future of Civil Rights Framework for the Internet

Some netizens are calling for Brazilian politicians to quash three different bills in the House of Representatives that threaten the Brazilian Civil Rights Framework for the Internet ('Marco Civil da Internet'), Law 12.965/2014. An English [EN] version of the Marco Civil da Internet is available here. Over twenty-five organizations, the majority of which are Brazilian, co-signed a letter that stated, "These Bills were introduced in the Chamber of Deputies aimed to change Marco Civil and are supported by powerful private and economic interests and are motivated by parliamentarians self-interest to restrain criticism from citizens and social movements violating the right to freedom of expression in Internet." At the time of writing, 144,137 individuals have signed a [PT] petition calling for the protection of the Brazilian Civil Rights Framework for the Internet.

Facebook to Provide Internet to Sub-Saharan Africa via Satellites

Recent [FR] [EN] reports indicate that Facebook plans to partner with the French satellite company Eutelsat in order to provide Internet to sub-Saharan Africa. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the news online and said, "I'm excited to announce our first project to deliver internet from space. [...] Over the last year Facebook has been exploring ways to use aircraft and satellites to beam internet access down into communities from the sky. To connect people living in remote regions, traditional connectivity infrastructure is often difficult and inefficient, so we need to invent new technologies." Critics are concerned that the service will possibly violate net neutrality and create a closed, Facebook-focused version of the Internet. This announcement came shortly after Facebook announced it would also work to ensure that refugees in U.N. camps could access the Internet.

Global: Completion of Trans-Pacific Partnership Sparks Debate Over Impact on Internet

Though negotiations revolving around the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) have concluded, there is still great ambiguity about how it might impact the Internet. The twelve nations involved in the negotiations are the US, Japan, Australia, Peru, Malaysia, Vietnam, New Zealand, Chile, Singapore, Canada, Mexico, and Brunei Darussalam. The New York Times reported, "[The TPP] also would establish uniform rules on corporations’ intellectual property, and open the Internet even in communist Vietnam." However, in 2013, the Electronic Freedom Foundation (EFF) called the TPP “one of the worst global threats to the internet." EFF has since produced a report that explains that the TPP would "place greater liability on Internet intermediaries" and "escalate protections for digital locks."

USA: Pew Internet Poll Releases Online Dating Survey

The Pew Research Center released the results from its inaugural set of focus groups on teens and dating in the digital age. While Pew has examined other trends in online dating, this marks the first time that its researchers have probed - in such great depth - trends amongst teenagers. The survey specifically explored how teens meet online, express interest in potential romantic partners, display their relationship status(es), end relationships, and handle themselves online after breaking up. The survey was conducted online from Sept. 25 through Oct. 9, 2014, and Feb. 10 through March 16, 2015; 16 online and in-person focus groups with teens were conducted in April 2014 and November 2014. Pew researchers analyzed their results and said, "Just as adult women are often subject to more frequent and intense harassment online, teen girls are substantially more likely than boys to experience uncomfortable flirting within social media environments."