Worst Attempts to Regulate the Internet in Latin America in 2015


Translated from Derechos Digitales

Latin America saw some really harmful attempts to regulate the Internet in 2015. All were ridiculous, absurd and dangerous, here is a selection of some of the worst.

Photo: Derechos Digitales

Photo: Derechos Digitales

Chile – Digital Media Law

A product of careless and poor legislative drafting technique, an attempt to standardize the electronic media with the written press in Chile represented a serious threat to freedom of expression on the internet, imposing a series of absurd charges for those responsible for the websites and threatening the right to anonymity online. Fortunately, after several controversies, the project was modified for the better.

Paraguay – Pyrawebs Law

The Pyrawebs Law sought for internet providers in Paraguay store information on customer traffic for at least 12 months, a measure that has been declared unconstitutional in several parts of the world by undermining the right to privacy.

Fortunately, the bill was rejected in both houses of the Paraguayan Congress.

Argentina – Extension of the term of protection of rights of photographs

On 4 November, the Argentina Chamber of Deputies approved the extension of the term of monopolistic exploitation of photographs of a reasonable “20 years after the publication” to 50 years after the first publication of the work, stealing valuable 30 years in the public domain and making more difficult the work of sites like Wikipedia.

This modification is a bit less harmful than the original intent of the project, which sought to extend the monopoly of use of photographs to 70 years after the author’s death; still, a bad decision by the Argentine deputies. The bill now waits in the Senate.

Mexico – Ley Fayad

Described by some as “the worst bill in Internet history“, the Law Fayad had so many problems that it is difficult to try to explain them without forgetting any.

Examples: criminalizing legitimate uses of the right to freedom of expression on the Internet; creating a tort category called “Crimes against improper disclosure of Personal Information”, the wording criminalized acts of whistleblowing like Edward Snowden; criminalizing platforms such as Wikileaks; the Mexican government granted more and better surveillance capacity of the Internet, and so on. I could go on, but the point is clear: this was a terrible draft law.

Finally its author, Senator Omar Fayad, withdrew the bill, but said he will submit a new one. Be afraid.

Brazil – Draft Spy Law

Probably one of the worst ideas that anyone has ever had. The PL 215/15, also known as Lei Espião (Spy Law), seeks to identify Internet users in Brazil with their national number, home address and phone number to visit any website or use any application; also companies like Google and Facebook would be required to keep this information for a minimum of three years and make it accessible to the police with a court order.

It also empowers the removal of Internet content when the content is defamatory, libelous or is outdated, even for public figures and politicians, which basically opens up possibilities for online censorship.

Peru – Ley Stalker

Through a legislative decree approved in July, when the majority of Peruvians were on vacation for the national holiday, the Executive authorized the National Police to access the location information of any mobile phone connected to a cellular network, without a court order. A clear example of how the discourse on security and crime is used against the right to privacy. Very bad.

Chile – Cybercrime Bill

Like the Mexican Fayad law, the cybercrime bill currently being discussed by the Commission on Science and Technology of the House of Representatives, suffers from lax and careless writing which punishes basically anything; it even penalizes the “ownership” of a device that allows the committing crimes (a computer?). In addition, any offense is complicated by the mere fact of using “information technology” and incriminating the technology rather than worry about the criminal use of it.

In addition, the standard of severity is lowered in order to intercept communications when there are “reasonable suspicions” that has or is preparing to commit the ambiguous offenses described in the law and calls for Internet providers to keep the traffic information of its users for 15 years

Derechos Digitales


About Author

Erin Gallagher is a multimedia artist, translator and writer for Revolution News.