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.
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.
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.’