Themes of communication law in the jurisprudence of the Brazilian Supreme Court
The book Communication Law in the Case Law of the Brazilian Supreme Court, by author Ericson M. Scorsim (PhD in Law – Universidade de São Paulo, lawyer and consultant in Public Law) aims at honoring this historic and symbolic event in Brazil.
The book provides a comprehensive overview of Brazilian decisions on cases about the Regulatory Framework of the Internet, Telecommunications (Telecommunications Act), Broadcasting, Pay-TV (Pay-TV Act) and the Press in the last three decades, from 1988 (when the Constitution of Brazil was approved) until 2018.
During this period of time, the Brazilian Federal Supreme Court established the basis of Communication Law.
The book brings cases from a few years ago about tech companies which provide internet applications, such as WhatsApp, Facebook, and Google. For example, there were public hearings at the Brazilian Supreme Court about the disclosure of private communications and the encryption of data from WhatsApp, which was determined by judicial order. See ADI 5527 (Direct Motion of Unconstitutionality) and ADPF 403 (Allegation against the violation of a constitutional right).
In this case, the main issue was the problem with the enforcement of the Brazilian law in relation to the disclosure of private communications of internet applications. Another issue was the unconstitutionality of the blockage of WhatsApp and the rights of privacy and communication.
Another case (ADC 51- Direct Motion of Constitutionality) shown in the book deals with the constitutionality of the Decree that approved the Mutual Legal Agreement between Brazil and the United of States in the matters of judiciary cooperation. This case affects global tech companies such as Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Youtube, Twitter, etc., which provide internet applications.
The Brazilian Courts and judges impose fines against these companies under the argument of disobedience of judicial orders that oblige the disclosure of private communication and personal data. But the companies argue that the personal data (the content of private communications) are stored in data centers located in other countries, not in Brazil. So, they cannot deliver the data to the Brazilian authorities.