Impact of Free Trade Agreements on Internet Policy, A Latin America Case Study

The question of how Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) affect internet policy is crucial for the global evolution of the internet. Although countries agree that no nations should impose restrictions on the development of the internet in other nations, FTAs are playing an important role in shaping local internet regulations. Indeed, since the implementation of the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights Agreement (TRIPS) in 1995, FTAs have commonly included international intellectual property obligations. Through FTAs, some countries are bilaterally agreeing to obligations related to local internet operations, in exchange for more favorable trade conditions. This situation has led many countries to alter their internet systems with transplanted foreign regulations, which are frequently inadequate to meet local needs, and in the worst cases, it poses severe threats to internet users’ rights. This paper analyses the landscape of FTAs that impact internet policy in Latin America. It shows how FTAs have shaped internet policy in a network of countries – in many cases, leading these countries to create regulations that have not undergone local public scrutiny.

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