Cybersecurity Policies in Brazil Under the Lens of Líderes Program


Cybersecurity Policies in Brazil Under the Lens of Líderes Program

Thaís Aguiar, a Brazilian attorney and researcher, stands out as one of the participants in the 2023 edition of LACNIC’s Líderes program. This initiative offers funding and mentorship for conducting research on Internet Governance (IG) topics relevant to the region, focusing on the perspectives of local and underrepresented communities.

The objective of her research, titled “Cybersecurity Policies in Brazil: Where Do We Come From and Where Are We Going?” aimed to explore the trajectory of cybersecurity governance in Brazil within the context of accelerated digital transformation and regulatory updates, with growing challenges related to digital security and the need to strengthen the trust of users on the Internet. The aim was to contribute to the development of more effective strategies in the public policy debate.

What led you to focus on that particular issue?  Why is it relevant to your community?

First, the current scenario reveals an alarming increase in the number of cybersecurity incidents: Brazil faces over 100 billion attempted cyber-attacks annually, resulting in significant financial losses and negative impacts on the provision of essential public services, such as the healthcare system. This increase not only leads to considerable financial losses, but also poses significant challenges for service availability and the reputation of the organizations affected.

Moreover, this situation undermines users’ trust in the digital environment, which is essential for the development of a healthy and prosperous digital society. The COVID-19 pandemic, for example,  accelerated digital transformation even further, making technological tools essential for both businesses and public services. This context highlights the importance of effective cybersecurity policies to protect sensitive data and ensure the uninterrupted operation of businesses and essential services. Discussing the cybersecurity landscape in the country involves delving into the legal and political aspects related to the protection of individual and collective legal assets on the network, as well as Brazil’s digital sovereignty.

It is noteworthy that Brazil holds a globally acknowledged position in Internet Governance; however, it faces the paradoxical absence of strong cybersecurity policies. Therefore, the research was also driven by the recognition of the gaps, advances and challenges faced by Brazil in the development and implementation of cybersecurity policies and the urgent need to address this issue and develop effective policies to protect the country’s digital infrastructure.
The decision to focus on this topic was further strengthened by the political environment prevailing in Brazil during the research, characterized by debates surrounding the revision of the National Cybersecurity Strategy and the introduction of new cybersecurity policies.

What are the main findings and conclusions of your work? Why are they relevant to the regional community and Internet Governance?

This work is relevant to the regional community for several reasons. First, by highlighting the regulatory gap in the area of cybersecurity, it draws attention to urgent issues affecting not only Brazil but the entire region.  These gaps may represent shared vulnerabilities that require collaborative approaches for mitigation and resolution. Similarly, the rising trend of securitization within the national ecosystem also serves as a warning for other situations. Additionally, the issues raised regarding institutional coordination, centralization of processes and the need for diverse perspectives in Internet Governance are challenges encountered by numerous countries.

Finally, the recommendations such as the need for evidence-based policies and a multisectoral approach to Internet governance, have the potential to influence not only Brazilian policies, but also impact policies adopted by other countries in the region.

What has been your experience with Líderes program? How was your experience with the program’s process and the guidance from your mentor?

My experience with the Líderes program has been outstanding in several aspects.  First and foremost, I must highlight the exceptional attention and guidance I received from my mentor, Claire Craig. Her support was instrumental to my development in the program, offering valuable suggestions and advice every step of the way. During my participation, I not only gained knowledge about research in technology and cybersecurity, but also received valuable suggestions on how to conduct research effectively. My mentor helped me further understand the importance of methodology, data collection and critical analysis, which was critical to the success of my project.

Additionally, I have learned the significance of collaboration and knowledge sharing in building effective solutions for current challenges in the field of technology and online security. I have also acquired leadership and communication skills that allow me to contribute meaningfully to discussions.

Furthermore, thanks to my mentor, I had access to important references and additional resources that enriched my research and broadened my understanding of the matter. This support network enabled me to delve into particular areas and approach complex challenges with greater confidence. In terms of the process, I must say that it was very clear and attentive. Right from the start, I was provided with detailed guidance on expectations, deadlines, and available resources. The program’s framework made it easy for me to participate and fully capitalize on learning and collaborative opportunities.

What contributions have you made to the LACNIC community?

I believe I have been able to share my experience and expertise in specific areas, such as data protection, online privacy and cybersecurity risk management. I have also worked collaboratively with others to identify and address common issues within the region, which has helped to strengthen the community and promote best practices in digital security.

How would you motivate and encourage other candidates to apply and join the program?

The Líderes program offers a unique and enriching experience, providing an exceptional opportunity to engage with topics relevant to our regional community.  Candidates will have the chance to work in a collaborative and dynamic environment, interacting with experts in the field of Internet Governance. Moreover, by joining the program, they will have the opportunity to enroll in the Policy Shapers program, which offers access to events, courses, and activities to enhance advocacy skills and expand research abilities. With access to excellent references and an accelerated learning approach, the program offers a unique opportunity for personal and professional growth. And of course, it is an invaluable platform for those who wish to actively contribute to the progress of Internet Governance in our region.

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