Access to Information Act comes into force
Paola Karina Ladeira (Lawyer of Civil Litigation Team)
Decree No 7724/2012, which regulates the Access to Information Act (Federal Law No. 12,527/2001), came into force on May 16th, 2012, in order to grant citizens unrestricted access to official data from the Brazilian Executive, Legislative and Judicial.
Besides the information regarding financial and contract costs, the law provides for the monitoring of general data of programs, activities, projects and works.
The law provides for that each public entity has a Citizen Information Service (CIS) to ensure the transparency of public data and that represents a breakthrough in Brazilian democracy, putting the country in the group of nations that recognize that the information stored by the State are a public asset.
Previously citizens could only ask for information concerning them and it was necessary to justify such request for data access.
In addition to public agencies and entities of the three levels of government, municipalities, foundations, public companies and nonprofit private entities that receive public funds should make information available to citizens for free.
The public servant who refuses to provide the required information, that provides it in a manner that is either intentionally incorrect or incomplete or inaccurate, and that imposes confidentiality for personal or third-party gain may be held liable in civil, administrative or criminal matters.