This concluding chapter elaborates on one of the first considerations of this book: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa are home to 3.2 billion people, or 42% of the world’s population, and this means BRICS hold 42% of one of the most valuable resources on the planet: the personal data produced by those 3.2 billion individuals. This chapter argues that the BRICS grouping is increasingly aware of the economic opportunities brought by digital technology but also that “free” digital services provided by foreign corporations are not free. They are paid with one of the most precious national assets – i.e. data – and, ultimately, with national sovereignty. Based on the research conducted by the CyberBRICS Project, this text contends that BRICS countries are developing cybersecurity frameworks, and particularly data privacy regulations, as a strategic tool to reassert their digital sovereignty.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Tax calculation will be finalised at checkout
Purchases are for personal use onlyLearn about institutional subscriptions
See Brazilian Presidency of the BRICS. (2019).
Research developed by the World Bank has demonstrated that 10% increase in broadband penetration can result in a gross domestic product (GDP) growth of up to 3.2%, with benefits ranging from the generation of services and jobs to an increase in family income. See World Bank (2016)
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) have echoed such results stressing that the benefits of the expansion of Interne penetration, generates greater availability and efficient use of services provided over the Internet, fostering social inclusion and productivity, and strengthening national governance. See OECD & IDB (2017).
See Belli (2017d).
A telling example illustrating the conspicuous interest of technology giants in BRICS markets is the very aggressive and unsuccessful attempt by Facebook to introduce so-called zero-rated services in India through the Internet.org and Free Basics initiatives. Facebook’s zero-rating projects, aimed at sponsoring a limited set of applications, whose data consumption is not counted against the users’ data allowance, have been prohibited by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, TRAI. The regulator de facto barred Facebook’s plan arguing that, by sponsoring access to only a limited amount of applications, zero rating plans violate net neutrality principles, and “can prove to be risky in the medium to long term as the knowledge and outlook of users would be shaped only by the information made available through those select offerings”. See TRAI (2016). Importantly, the purpose of the majority of zero-rating plans such as the aforementioned Facebook initiatives is to steer users’ attention towards predefined services, thus capturing users’ attention and, consequently, their personal data. See Belli (2017a). Belli (2018: 69).
See Eyal (2014).
See CyberBRICS (2019).
See BRICS Ministers of Communication (2019).
Dedicated analysis on BRICS policies and strategies to deploy and reclaim digital sovereignty will be the object of a future publication of the CyberBRICS project.
In her Political Guidelines for the Next European Commission, the European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen argues that “it is not too late to achieve technological sovereignty” in some areas of critical technology, including algorithms, blockchain, and quantum computing. See von der Leyen (2019: 13). This statement is echoed by French President, Emmanuel Macron, stressing that “the battle we’re fighting is one of sovereignty…If we don’t build our own champions in all areas—digital, artificial intelligence—our choices will be dictated by others.” See Propp (2019).
As an instance, see the European Data Protection Supervisor’s opinion on online manipulation and personal data (EDPS 2018).
This term refers to a general mistrust of consumers and regulators regarding the activities and intentions of – especially large-sized and US-based – technology companies.
See European Parliament (2019).
See WEF (2011).
See BRICS (2019c).
See ibid., paragraph 53.
See Brazilian Presidency of the BRICS (2019).
A variety of strategies, policies and programmes promoted by both public and private stakeholders in the BRICS have been discussed during a series of dedicated CyberBRICS events, analysing i.a. 5G and new digital infrastructures, data protection, cybersecurity frameworks, and Sino-Brazilian cooperation on Internet Governance. Detailed information, including video recordings of the seminars, are available at https://www.cyberbrics.info/category/events/
See Borger (2013).
See Sanger and Perlroth (2019).
For a discussion of the Indian policies aimed at sovereign control of data, see Basu et al. (2019). See also the Russian, Chinese and Indian analyses in this book for a wider analysis and contextualisation of data localisation norms in those countries.
See ITU (2016).
See ITU (2016).
See South China Morning Post (2020).
See Russian Business Today (2018).
See Ministério da Ciência, Tecnologia, Inovações e Comunicações (2018).
See Ministério da Ciência, Tecnologia, Inovações e Comunicações (2019).
The CyberBRICS team elaborated an unofficial English translation of the new General Data Protection Law, better known by its Brazilian acronym “LGPD”. See Belli et al. (2020).
See BRICS (2018).
See Basu et al. (2019).
See Samm (2019).
See Wei (2019).
See Mungadze (2019).
See Cybersecurity Insiders (2019).
For instance, Brazil has currently developing a new cybersecurity strategy in compliance with Decree No. 9637, of 26 December 2018, establishing the National Information Security Policy. See http://www.planalto.gov.br/ccivil_03/_Ato2015-2018/2018/Decreto/D9637.htm#art6i
As an instance, see the CyberBRICS interactive map comparing Data Protection across BRICS countries https://cyberbrics.info/data-protection-across-brics-countries/
See BRICS (2019b).
See BRICS (2019a).
See Belli (2019).
Basu, Arindrajit, Hickok Elonnai & Chawla Aditya Singh (23 March 2019). Unpacking policy moves for sovereign control of data in India. <https://cyberbrics.info/unpacking-policy-moves-for-sovereign-control-of-data-in-india/>
Belli, Luca. (2017a). Net Neutrality, Zero-Rating and the Minitelisation of the Internet. Journal of Cyber Policy. Routledge. Vol 2. N 1.
Belli, Luca. (01 June 2017b). Seus dados são o novo petróleo: mas serão verdadeiramente seus? O Globo. <https://oglobo.globo.com/opiniao/seus-dados-sao-novo-petroleo-mas-serao-verdadeiramente-seus-21419529>
Belli, Luca. (14 October 2017c). Os dados pessoais e os escravos digitais. Nexo Jornal. <https://www.nexojornal.com.br/ensaio/2017/Os-dados-pessoais-e-os-escravos-digitais>
Belli, Luca. (15 Dec 2017d). The scramble for data and the need for network self-determination. In Open Democracy Available at: < https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/scramble-for-data-and-need-for-network-self-determination/>.
Belli, Luca. (2018). Zero-Rating and the Minitelisation of the Internet. In ARCEP (Autorité de régulation des communications électroniques et des Postes). The state of the Internet in France. <https://archives.arcep.fr/uploads/tx_gspublication/report-state-internet-2018_conf050618-ENG.pdf>
Belli, Luca. (09 Set 2019). 5G e IoT: BRICS precisam de cooperação em cibersegurança. <https://cyberbrics.info/5g-e-iot-brics-precisam-de-cooperacao-em-ciberseguranca/>
Belli, Luca, Laila Lorenzon, Luã Fergus and Walter Britto (January 2020). The Brazilian General Data Protection Law (LGPD). Introduction to LGPD and Unofficial Translation. CyberBRICS Project at FGV Law School. https://cyberbrics.info/brazilian-general-data-protection-law-lgpd-unofficial-english-version/
Belli, Luca, Schwartz Molly, Louzada Luiza, (2017). Selling your Soul while Negotiating the Conditions: From Notice and Consent to Data Control by Design. In Health and Technology Journal. Vol 5. N° 4. Springer-Nature. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12553-017-0185-3
Borger, Julian. (24 Sep 2013). Brazilian president: US surveillance a 'breach of international law'. The Guardian. Available at: <https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/sep/24/brazil-president-un-speech-nsa-surveillance>.
Brazilian Presidency of the BRICS. (2019). What is BRICS? http://brics2019.itamaraty.gov.br/en/about-brics/what-is-brics
BRICS. (September 2019a). A New BRICS STI Architecture. http://brics2019.itamaraty.gov.br/images/documentos/The_New_BRICS_STI_Architecture__Steering_Committee__Final_19_9_19.pdf
BRICS. (October 2019b). BRICS Science, Technology and Innovation Work Plan 2019-2022. http://brics2019.itamaraty.gov.br/images/documentos/BRICS_STI_Work_Plan_2019-2022__Final.pdf
BRICS. (November 2019c) Brasília Declaration. 11th BRICS Summit http://brics2019.itamaraty.gov.br/images/documentos/Braslia_Declaration_-_hiperlinks_como_est_no_site_28-11.pdf
BRICS. Ministers of Communication (2019). Declaração da 5° Reunião de Ministros de Comunicações do BRICS - Brasília, Brasil, 14 de Agosto de 2019. <http://brics2019.itamaraty.gov.br/images/documentos/Declarao_da_5_Reunio_de_Comunicao_dos_Ministros_do_BRICS.pdf>.
BRICS. (July 2018). 10th BRICS Summit Johannesburg Declaration — BRICS in Africa: Collaboration for Inclusive Growth and Shared Prosperity in the 4th Industrial Revolution. July 25-27 2018, Johannesburg, South Africa. http://www.brics.utoronto.ca/docs/180726-johannesburg.html
CyberBRICS (04 June 2019). Seminar CyberBRICS: Cybersecurity, data protection and the digital future of the BRICS. Available at: <https://cyberbrics.info/seminar-cyberbrics-cybersecurity-data-protection-and-the-digital-future-of-the-brics-2/>.
Cybersecurity Insiders. (2019) List of countries which are most vulnerable to cyber attacks. Available at: <https://www.cybersecurity-insiders.com/list-of-countries-which-are-most-vulnerable-to-cyber-attacks/>.
Couldry, Nick and Mejias, Ulises. (2018) Data colonialism: rethinking big data’s relation to the contemporary subject. Television and New Media. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/1527476418796632
Couldry, Nick and Ulises A. Mejias. (2019). The Costs of Connection: How Data is Colonizing Human Life and Appropriating it for Capitalism. Stanford University Press.
European Data Protection Supervisor (2018). EPDS opinion on online manipulation and personal data. Available at: <https://edps.europa.eu/sites/edp/files/publication/18-03-19_online_manipulation_en.pdf>.
European Parliament (2019). Impact of digitalisation on international tax matters. <https://www.europarl.europa.eu/cmsdata/161104/ST%20Impact%20of%20Digitalisation%20publication.pdf>.
Eyal, Nir (2014). Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products. Penguin Random House.
FGV Direito Rio (30 Aug 2019). 5G and the new digital infrastructures in the BRICS. Available at: <https://direitorio.fgv.br/eventos/5g-and-new-digital-infrastructures-in-the-brics>.
Governo do Brasil. Gabinete de segurança institucional. Available at: <https://www.gov.br/gsi/pt-br>.
International Communication Union (2016). Harnessing the Internet of things for global development. Available at: <https://www.itu.int/en/action/broadband/Documents/Harnessing-IoT-Global-Development.pdf>.
Internet World Stats. Available at: <https://www.internetworldstats.com/stats.htm>.
Ministério da Ciência, Tecnologia, Inovações e Comunicações (MCTIC) (2018). Brazilian digital transformation strategy. Available at: <https://www.mctic.gov.br/mctic/opencms/digital_strategy>.
Ministério da Ciência, Tecnologia, Inovações e Comunicações (MCTIC) (26 June 2019). Decreto que institui plano nacional de Internet das coisas é publicado. Available at: <https://www.mctic.gov.br/mctic/opencms/salaImprensa/noticias/arquivos/2019/06/Decreto_que_institui_o_Plano_Nacional_de_Internet_das_Coisas_e_publicado.html>.
Mungadze, Samuel. (16 September 2019). Information Regulator cautions private camera network operators. ITweb. https://www.itweb.co.za/content/kYbe9MXxPxdMAWpG
OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation) and IDB (Development and Inter-American Development Bank). (2017). Broadband Policies for Latin America and the Caribbean: A Digital Economy Toolkit. Available at: http://www.oecd.org/internet/broadband-policies-for-latin-america-and-the-caribbean-9789264251823-en.htm
Propp, Kenneth (11 December 2019). Waving the flag of digital sovereignty. Atlantic Council. https://www.atlanticcouncil.org/blogs/new-atlanticist/waving-the-flag-of-digital-sovereignty/
Russia Business Today (30 Oct 2018). Russia to reach 80% 5G covereage by 2025: report. Available at: <https://russiabusinesstoday.com/technology/russia-to-reach-80-5g-coverage-by-2025-report/>.
Sacks, Samm (07 Feb 2019). China’s privacy conundrum. Slate Available at: <https://slate.com/technology/2019/02/china-consumer-data-protection-privacy-surveillance.html>.
Sanger, David E. & Perlroth Nicole (15 June 2019). U.S. escalates online attacks on Russia’s power grid. The New York Times. Available at: <https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/15/us/politics/trump-cyber-russia-grid.html?smid=nytcore-ios-share>.
Shcherbovich, Andrey A. (27 Fev 2019a). The Russian bill on Internet Sovereignty adopted by the State Duma in first reading. Available at: <https://cyberbrics.info/the-russian-bill-on-internet-sovereignty-adopted-by-the-state-duma-in-first-reading/>.
Shcherbovich, Andrey A. (05 May 2019b). Sovereign Internet Law signed by the President of Russia. Available at: <https://cyberbrics.info/sovereign-internet-law-signed-by-the-president-of-russia/>.
South China Morning Post (2020). Made china 2025. Available at: <https://www.scmp.com/topics/made-china-2025>.
TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India). February 2016. Prohibition of Discriminatory Tariffs for Data Services regulation, 2016. No. 2 of 2016. February 2016.
von der Leyen, Ursula (July 2019). A Union that strives for more. My agenda for Europe. Political Guidelines for the Next European Commission 2019–2024. https://ec.europa.eu/commission/sites/beta-political/files/political-guidelines-next-commission_en.pdf
World Bank. (2016). World Development Report 2016: Digital Dividends. Washington, DC: World Bank. Available at: http://pubdocs.worldbank.org/en/391452529895999/WDR16-BPExploring-the-Relationship-between-Broadband-and-Economic-Growth-Minges.pdf
WEF (World Economic Forum). (January 2011). Personal Data: The Emergence of a New Asset Class. http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_ITTC_PersonalDataNewAsset_Report_2011.pdf
Wei, Han (9 January 2019). Baidu Sued Over Claim It Illegally Obtained Users’ Data. Caixin. https://www.caixinglobal.com/2018-01-09/baidu-sued-over-claim-it-illegally-obtained-users-data-101195257.html
Editors and Affiliations
© 2021 The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG
About this chapter
Cite this chapter
Belli, L. (2021). BRICS Countries to Build Digital Sovereignty. In: Belli, L. (eds) CyberBRICS. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-56405-6_7
Publisher Name: Springer, Cham
Print ISBN: 978-3-030-56404-9
Online ISBN: 978-3-030-56405-6