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Restriction of Online Anonymity in Brazil: mapping out underlying values in the argumentation of judges in the São Paulo Appeals Court (2015-2017)

Grant number: 18/20758-9
Support Opportunities:Scholarships abroad - Research
Effective date (Start): February 18, 2019
Effective date (End): June 26, 2019
Field of knowledge:Applied Social Sciences - Law - Theory of Law
Principal Investigator:Rafael Mafei Rabelo Queiroz
Grantee:Rafael Mafei Rabelo Queiroz
Host Investigator: Susan Bright
Host Institution: Faculdade de Direito (FD). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Research place: University of Oxford, England  


This research aims to investigate how the São Paulo Court of Appeals (TJSP) has decided legal conflicts regarding anonymity in the Internet environment, since enactment of Brazil's Internet Law (Marco Covil da Internet, 2014). Legal disputes regarding anonymity in the internet environment have grown in quantity in the TJSP year by year, revealing the increasing importance of the subject in the practice of that court. Although there is theoretical research on the normatively ideal interpretation of anonymity in Brazil, no empirical investigation indicates the real scope of these legal conflicts, as well as the moral conflicts underlying them. To fill these gaps, the proposed investigation aims to produce a map of the conflicts related to anonymity in the internet environment, as well as the solution given by the TJSP to the different types of identified conflicts. In order to capture the jurisprudential portrait in light of the current legislation, at the center of which is Brazil's 2014 Internet Law, the research will cover the themes from 2015 to 2017, totaling three full years of TJSP decisions - preliminary research suggests a total of 772 cases during that time period. Qualitative analysis will be made of decisions that exemplify the main legal conflicts identified, aiming at specifying possible moral conflicts underlying the permission or restriction to anonymity in the Internet. The great hypothesis to be tested is that the challenges of privacy in the digital environment are leading to a progressive appreciation of the right to anonymity, thus restricting the incidence of the traditional interpretation of the constitutional clause that prohibits it almost completely (article 5, IV). The final product, in the form of a scientific article, will be converted into a scientific article, for publication in a foreign journal.

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