This study aims to map the controversy surrounding the Marco Civil da Internet (Civil Framework for the Internet) in Brazil. Drawing on a Twitter dataset spanning from August 2012 to December 2013, this study uses a series of methods, including data mining, processing, and information visualization, to produce a historiography of collective actions related to the Marco Civil. The Twitter conversations traced in this paper began on October 27, 2009 when Brazil’s Ministry of Culture, in partnership with the National Education and Research Network (RNP), launched a national campaign to discuss the Marco Civil. With broad participation from civil society, the first draft of the bill was developed on “Digital Culture Brasil,” an open platform developed by the Ministry of Culture for public debate and conversation on federal policy issues concerning the internet. The #MarcoCivil platform on the “Digital Culture” website catalyzed a series of robust discussions online, using the Twitter profile @MarcoCivil (run by the administrators of the Digital Culture platform) and the #MarcoCivil hashtag.
In the summer of 2013, Edward Snowden’s extraordinary leaks about U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance destabilized the foundations of international Internet governance. Speaking at the UN General Assembly on September 24, 2013, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff denounced NSA spying in the strongest terms, and, together with ICANN, started planning conference in Sao Paulo in April 2014 to reinvent Internet governance.