tuesday, 19 february of 2019

Decree decreases the effectiveness of the information access law

Mariana Cardoso Magalhães

On January 23, 2019, decree 9.690/19 was published to change the so-called access to information law - law 12.527/11 - increasing the possibility of concealing public administration data and making it confidential.

Before this legislative amendment, the access to information act only allowed this type of classification of data by president, vice president or ministers, also known as the first step. Now, the decree has allowed this type of change to be made also by subordinate public servants.

The major problem that has been pointed out by this Executive Order is that these servers, who are now also authorized to name documents as confidential, were not democratically elected and could, with this authorization, act as a political shield for the first step, leading to the concealment of data which may be compromising or inconvenient.

This decree conflicts directly with one of the Brazilian initiatives best seen in these times of anti-corruption, which was the entry into the Open Government Partnership (OGP), which took place in 2011 and led to the drafting of the access to information law.

This international initiative came with the intention of the Brazilian Government to promote the public commitment to expand free access to government data for all.

This type of decision by the Government may cause strangeness to the other 73 countries that joined the OCP, such as the United States of America, and may even cause a shock in international relations and intentions of foreign investments in Brazil.

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*Mariana Cardoso Magalhães is partner of Homero Costa Advogados.

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