top of page

Musk, China, and Digital Sovereignty: Internet Challenges in Brazil

The topic that dominated discussions this week were the controversial statements by Elon Musk, who harshly criticized the Brazilian Supreme Federal Court, the Presidency, and by extension, our entire democratic system and national sovereignty.

This situation has sparked a new debate about the future of the internet. Some people suggest regulation as the solution, while others want to create truly Brazilian social networks. Still, it's obvious we're far from fully controlling our internet infrastructure, a goal that can't be achieved overnight.

From the emails we send to our academic searches, all our digital data goes through companies, mostly based in the United States.

In the midst of these discussions, China emerges—a country often misunderstood, even among progressive circles.

Of course, I don't expect everyone to know the details about what happens there, given the physical distance and language barriers. Moreover, our perceptions are shaped by algorithms that filter and define our reality. However, there are books on the subject, such as Internet Law in China by Guosong Shao, published by Oxford Cambridge Philadelphia New Delhi.

Internet regulation in China is often seen as antagonistic to the idea of freedom. However, whether one agrees or disagrees, China, despite being distant from the everyday contexts of many, follows strict legislation that is not dictated at the whim of an authoritarian leader.

Either way, Elon Musk has sparked a change in the narrative. China, previously seen only as the villain that censors the internet, is beginning to be recognized (within more progressive circles) as a model for regulation and development of its own platforms.

Finally, it's crucial to understand that in China, as well as here, significant decisions about the country are not made overnight. There is legislation based on fundamental national principles, such as the country's integrity.

Currently, Brazil also faces its dilemmas about internet freedom, and we may be at a turning point.

This overview leads us to an important reflection: to what extent can or should we model our digital policies based on international examples? Furthermore, how do you, the reader, perceive the intersection between freedom of expression and internet regulation, both in Brazil and in other global contexts?


Field note daily: Just notes from everyday anthropological life

bottom of page