Internet Policy Formation in Latin America: Understanding the Links Between the National, the Regional, and the Global

Until recently, internet governance was a relatively obscure topic in most technology policy agendas in Latin America. But in mid-2013, revelations about widespread surveillance of internet communications dramatically transformed conversations about the issue. The work addresses the institutional consolidation of emerging experiences in national contexts to address internet governance and policy as well as their effectiveness in shaping regional and global processes. This paper takes a comparative approach, by looking at several national cases; the experience of Argentine Commission for Internet Policy (CAPI) created in 2014; Costa Rica with the Internet Consulting Committee (in 2012) and Mexico with the Initiative Group (2012). These cases were examined against the backdrop of the well documented Brazilian experience and its Internet Steering Committee (CGI)( 2005). The research analysed the national internet governance mechanisms in the early stages of the institutionalization process, looking at the main developments that have shaped actors’ strategies as well as the evolution of internet regulations in these countries. The three cases differ in both the degree of formality, working mechanisms and stakeholder representation in these new bodies. In each national context, it is clear that governments are now working to formalize policymaking arrangements, as the original informal coordination mechanisms that gave rise to the internet in these countries are no longer sufficient. The bridges between the international and the domestic field will tend to rely on more formally institutionalized spaces as states become more involved with the issue.

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