Internet Governance and Free Expression in Latin America: A Panel Discussion with Experts

On January 22nd, as part of the Price Media Law Moot Court Americas Regional Round, CGCS’s Internet Policy Observatory (IPO) sponsored a panel discussion entitled “Internet Governance and Free Expression in Latin America.”

Against the background of discussions about the role of the press in Latin America, including issues of regulation and free expression in Argentina, Venezuela, Ecuador and elsewhere, this Panel focused on emerging attitudes toward Internet Governance in Latin America. Panelists analyzed and discussed the most recent regional shifts in narratives and policymaking with regard to privacy, free expression, and the internet. This seminar also focused on the upcoming international NETmundial summit to be hosted in Brazil that will bring government, industry, academia, and leaders to discuss these issues. Additionally, the conversation discussed the Marco Civil da Internet (which may or not be enacted into law), its implications, as well as other changing approaches to regulation of the internet.

Panelists Eduardo Bertoni (Center for Studies on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information), Carolina Rossini (New America Foundation), Marcel Leonardi (Google Brazil), and Erika Watanabe Patriota (Permanent Mission of Brazil to the United Nations) discussed issues such as…

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Government-Dominated Governance and the Double-Edged Sword

Ran Liu, a graduate student in Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania, discusses her most recent research on Internet policy scholarship in China.

In recent years, academia’s interest in the Chinese Internet, especially its potential for promoting social movements, democracy and human rights, has increased. However, when it comes to Internet policy and governance scholarship, Chinese scholars are overshadowed by the English-dominated academic world. Compared to their Western counterparts, articles published in Chinese are found to be more conservative, less theoretical, and less focused on the political consequences of the Internet (Qiu & Bu, 2013; Wei, 2009).

To enrich global narratives of Internet policy with an often-overlooked angle, I recently critically examined and analyzed current scholarship on Internet policy written in Chinese and published in Mainland China. Using a research sample of 226 Internet governance articles developed from the Chinese National Knowledge Institution Database (CNKI), [1] my findings address major questions including: What is the major discourse constructed around Internet policy, and who are the major architects in Chinese scholarship? Is there a debate happening among Chinese scholars as China is an authoritarian regime? Does Chinese scholarship provide a different story from international narratives about Internet?

Overall Chinese academic discourse on Internet governance is highly coherent. Scholarship generally considers the national government the dominant Internet governance player…

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Finding a Formula for Brazil: Representation and Legitimacy in Internet Governance

The following article is the first of a series of working papers published by the Internet Policy Observatory at CGCS. These working papers explore  global policies of the Internet with a focus on the global south. This article, developed by Milton Mueller from Syracuse University and Ben Wagner from CGCS, looks at the process running up to the Brazilian summit in April 2014, and puts these Internet governance developments into a historical context.

In the summer of 2013, Edward Snowden’s extraordinary leaks about U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance destabilized the foundations of international Internet governance. Speaking at the UN General Assembly on September 24, 2013, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff denounced NSA spying in the strongest terms, and, together with ICANN, started planning conference in Sao Paulo in April 2014 to reinvent Internet governance.

This article analyses these events and tries to make sense of what they might mean for the future of global Internet governance. It begins by looking at how the Brazil-ICANN initiative alters the political alignment of actors in the world. Second, it places these developments into a longer historical context, showing how it echoes recurring attempts to develop legitimacy and principles for Internet governance. Third, it applies…

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A Shift in International Information Security: The Story of a Diplomatic Oxymoron

Gregory Asmolov, a PhD candidate in New Media, Innovation, and Literacy at the London School of Economics, uses the recent UN draft resolution “Developments in the Field of Information and Telecommunications in the Context of International Security” to examine shifts in international Internet regulation. On November 11, 2013 CGCS hosted a talk with Gregory where he used Russia as a case study to suggest exploring Internet regulation beyond specific measures suggested by government, such as new legislation or law enforcement that seeks to restrict Internet freedom.

The Past. Information security vs. cybersecurity: traditional disagreements.

Russia and the U.S. have historically had very different positions on international Internet regulation issues. Washington focuses on cybersecurity, Internet freedom, and limiting the field of regulation to technological infrastructure while Moscow’s position centers on the much broader information security. According to Russian information security scholar Oleg Demidov, Russia tends to focus on the regulation of state-to-state relationships in the information realm. The traditional western position, however, is more concerned with threats affiliated with individual actors, as well as with state actors that limit individuals’ freedom through cyberspace regulation[1].

Another point of debate is whether cybersecurity should be regulated by hard law or by soft law (set of norms without compulsory commitment). While many discussions take place in different international forums, the United Nations continues to be a major arena for Russia’s promotion of information security as a framework for international regulation. Russia, acts through the UN first committee in order to frame Internet regulation within the broader context of international security.[2] The U.S., however, frames cybersecurity-related regulation as “creation of global culture of cybersecurity” and promote its initiatives through the UN second committee.

The Present. New project of the UN resolution: Strategic shift.

On the one hand, traditional opposition to the Russian “information security” approach continues to be a major leitmotif in the Western…

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