Ronaldo Lemos


This profile was prepared when Ronaldo Lemos was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in .
The New Idea
Ronaldo is using technology to enhance democracy. He sees technology as an opportunity to include people who were excluded in decision making processes and content production. The internet brings access to information and opportunities, as well as advances in freedom of expression and association. However, for this to happen, it is important to regulate the way people use technology and the internet and to ensure that they will not be used as tools to suppress rights. Ronaldo Lemos created ITS - Institute of Technology and Society to analyze, address and impact the way society and technology interact, and is pioneering both in thinking about how to translate the fundamental rights of the real world into the digital world, making sure they are aligned with the democratic principles, as well as enabling previously excluded people to participate.

Ronaldo led the creation of Marco Civil da Internet, a Civil Regulatory Framework for the Internet in Brazil, which was approved by the Brazilian Congress in April 2014, establishing principles, rights and duties for the internet in the country, through a truly democratic multistakeholder process. The bill used internet to regulate it, and was collaboratively built online, through a transparent and inclusive process that counted with the participation of all interested users - academy, social organizations, companies, politicians, individuals from civil society. Marco Civil defined the fundamental rights for the contemporary world: privacy, freedom of speech, net neutrality, the recognition of the Internet as an essential tool for citizenship exercise, the principles of "open government", among other topics. Brazil is the first country in the world to have a legislation such as Marco Civil, both in content and in process. Ronaldo is now supporting other countries, such as Mexico, Italy, Lebanon and Jordan to implement similar processes. Ronaldo has also launched “Brazil Platform”, a platform for collaborative political decision-making to replicate the innovative process of building the law, which can be applied to various other issues.

Ronaldo works on many fronts to ensure access to information and, through an important partnership with the Culture Ministry, was able to change public policy on patents, open educational resources (OER) and digital culture. To ensure that technology’s benefits are broadly shared across society, Ronaldo also researches the appropriation of technology by the base of the pyramid, to ensure that new technology based practices and uses by low-income people do not stay invisible and criminalized. Examples are the decriminalization of the ‘lan houses’, the mapping of the multimillion dollar tecnobrega music industry in the north of Brazil and of Nigerias’ film making industry.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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