Internet Policy Formation in Latin America: Understanding the links between national, regional and global dynamics

//Hernan Galperin of the Universidad de San Andrés and Carolina Aguerre, general manager of the LACTLD, discuss their ongoing research on the emergence of internet policy in Latin America.

Brazil is widely recognized as a global leader in the internet policy field. But what is going on with other countries in the region? Following the revelations about widespread network surveillance by security agencies, internet policy issues have become much more prominent in national policy agendas in Latin America. Governments from Mexico to Argentina have started initiatives to address surveillance, privacy, network neutrality, and many of the other complex issues in internet policy. What do these initiatives have in common? Are they guided by similar principles and incentives? Are the national policy dynamics similar? Are there similar configurations of policy actors?

In this research project we seek to understand the incentives and dynamics of the emerging internet policy field in Argentina, Mexico and Costa Rica. Although internet governance has been persistently in the national agenda of Brazil – particularly after the creation of the CGI in 1995, it was until very recently a relatively obscure topic in most national policy agendas in Latin America.  As such, debates were limited to specialized government agencies, a few academics and a handful of NGOs. Today, in the post-Snowden scenario internet governance debates reach the highest policy levels and are prominently covered by the general media. The NETmundial event is a case in point: not only was it organized by Brazil but it was attended by delegations from the overwhelming majority of Latin American countries, most of them headed by ministers or secretaries of state.

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Internet Dementia – European Court Judgment and the ‘Right to be Forgotten’

Christian Möller, a Fall 2014 CGCS Listing Scholar, overviews and analyzes the recent European Court Judgement on the ‘right to be forgotten.’

The Spanish Case

In 1998, Mario Costeja González, a Spanish citizen from El Escorial near the Spanish capital Madrid, was about to be forced into the foreclosure sale of his property due to social security debts, a fact that, on page 23, was also reported by the regional La Vanguardia newspaper. Although the proceedings were concluded and resolved, for years to come a Google search of González’s name brought up the newspaper notice of the foreclosure.

In 2009, González filed a complaint with the Spanish Data Protection Agency (or Agencia Española de Protección de Datos, short AEPD) against La Vanguardia and Google Spain, asking for an injunction against both the newspaper and search engine. The AEPD dismissed the claim against the newspaper (which was under a legal obligation to publish the official notice), but issued an injunction against Google Spain SL and Google Inc. to delete the data from the search engine’s index. Google appealed to the AEPD, whichreferred the case to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in Luxemburg.

On May 13, 2014, the ECJ ruled that Google must remove links to outdated or irrelevant personal information from search results upon request. The Court found that individuals have a right to control their private data and that they have the right to request that information be ‘forgotten’ when the results show links to information that…

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Isolating, Not Taming: What’s Behind the Impetus to “Digital Sovereignty” in Russia?

//Julien Nocetti, a Research Fellow at the Paris-based think tank French Institute of International Relations (IFRI), explores recent Russian claims and policies concerning the internet in an attempt to reveal what these claims and initiatives reveal about Russian authorities’ stance towards the internet.

April 2014 was a particularly bitter month for Russian internet users and the local internet industry. President Vladimir Putin unsurprisingly made headlines when, at the Media Forum in St. Petersburg, he publicly labeled the internet as a “CIA project” and launched an attack against Russian internet businesses. Putin particularly expressed reservations about the successful Russian search engine Yandex, as it is registered in the Netherlands for, as Putin stated, “not only… taxation purposes but for other reasons, as well.” A week earlier, during his annual call-in TV show, Putin also referenced the internet when, responding to a question from Edward Snowden, he rejected any mass surveillance of the network by Russian law enforcement agencies.

Simultaneously, an avalanche of internet related legislation, which would make any legal expert dizzy, passed in Russia. The State Duma approved a law which imposed stricter rules on bloggers, requiring blogs with over 3000 daily visits to register as mass media entities.  The Duma also released a draft “Internet Law” that would significantly increase the government’s powers by obliging all email providers and social network owners to store information about their users, users’ posts, and users’ communications on servers in Russia. In an apparent…

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African Internet Policy and Media Law Roundup

Welcome to the first African Internet Policy and Media Law Roundup compiled by Ephraim Percy Kenyanito.  This edition of the roundup explores notable events affecting, or affected by, African internet policies from January through April 2014.

JANUARY

Zambia: On January 1, 2014, Miles Sampa, Zambia’s Junior Minister of Commerce, Trade, and Industry, declared war on the Zambian Watchdog, an independent media website which published photos that point to Sampa’s alleged extramarital affair. The Minister then decided to offer $2000 USD to anyone who could reveal the identity of the people behind the website.

Somalia: The extremist Somali militia Al-Shabab issued an ultimatum to Somalia’s internet service providers on January 8, 2014. On January 11, 2014, the Somali Minister of Interior and National Security downplayed the threats and urged the upholding of the right to free expression enshrined in the country’s constitution.

Somalia: On January 12, 2014, telcos operating in Al-Shabab controlled areas caved in to pressure from Al-Shabab, an extremist militia group, and shut down internet access. It is speculated that Al-Shabab was pressuring the telcos to shut down the internet in order to prevent the government from  tracking down to extremist group.

Sudan: On January 14, 2014, Tech President, released a report which showed that US Sanctions against Sudan are preventing Sudanese citizens, including civil society organizations, from protecting themselves against…

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