Network shutdowns impacting an entire country are now almost non-existent, but the practice of shutting down communications in certain cities or areas of a country, or suspending certain services continues globally. This has happened over the past decade or so for a variety of reasons, sometimes due to national security concerns but also to prevent the organisation of protests or the spread of civil unrest.
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.
IPO Affiliate Sarah Logan investigates the international expansion of one of China’s biggest internet technology companies, Baidu, using Baidu’s recent attempted expansion into Vietnam as a test case and taking a mixed methods approach. This paper contributes a new area of research on the geopolitical associations of internet technology platforms to existing studies of the social, political implication of information technology. It adds to studies of the state in cyberspace by showing that, at least for Chinese companies in Vietnam, the state is embodied in perceptions of the platform, even outside the state’s physical borders: the company itself is ‘bordered.’
“Fostering Freedom Online: the Role of Internet Intermediaries” is the title of a new title in the UNESCO Internet freedom series. With the rise of Internet intermediaries that play a mediating role on the internet between authors of content and audiences, UNESCO took a joint initiative, with the Open Society Foundations, the Internet Society, and Center for Global Communication Studies at the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School for Communication, to examine this recent historical phenomenon and how it impacts on freedom of expression and associated fundamental rights such as privacy.