Google Inc has engaged the services of former Brazilian President Michel Temer to negotiate with legislators who are currently deliberating on a bill intended to regulate the internet, according to an announcement made by Temer’s adviser last Friday, as reported by Reuters.
Referred to as the Fake News bill, the proposed legislation would place a legal obligation on internet companies, search engines, and social messaging services to identify and report illegal content, and impose substantial fines for any failures to do so.
The bill has ignited controversy within the tech industry, prompting some companies to initiate campaigns on their own platforms in an effort to defeat the legislation. Just two months ago, Brazil’s highest court issued a directive to investigate executives at Telegram and Google who had spearheaded a campaign against the proposed regulation.
It was local news outlet Folha de Sao Paulo that first reported that Temer has been acting as a mediator between Google and Brazilian lawmakers for approximately three weeks.
Temer’s adviser further clarified that Google hired the former President to facilitate talks and proposals with Brazil’s parliament, a critical role amidst the ongoing legislative discussions.
While Temer denied having any direct talks with justices at Brazil’s Supreme Court to Folha, it looks like he has indeed met with lawmaker Orlando Silva, who is overseeing the internet legislation, to discuss specific components of the bill.
The Brazilian Supreme Court is anticipated to rule on two appeals that could potentially render the internet legislation more flexible. The court’s decision, originally scheduled for June, has been deferred, as reported by Folha.
Google, in an official statement, acknowledged its practice of hiring specialized agencies and consultants to assist in mediating efforts to communicate with public authorities. The tech giant emphasised the necessity of this practice in bringing contributions to politicians and parliamentarians, particularly in matters of technical significance such as the formulation of new legislation.