Freedom of expression
As technology becomes increasingly pervasive in our daily lives, the policies of a broad array of private actors have an impact on freedom of expression in the digital age. APC welcomes the focus of the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to freedom of opinion and expression on the responsibilities of the ICT sector, and the opportunity to contribute to his study. While there has been significant focus on the impact of large, transnational companies, we wish to highlight other private actors whose human rights responsibilities are not as well understood.
What is the state of internet freedoms in Latin America? That is the main question that our partners in Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico and Paraguay set out to answer, as part of the Examining Internet Freedoms in Latin America (EXLILA) project.
Paraguay experienced state and private surveillance during the military dictatorship of Alfredo Stroessner (1954-1989). However, the democratic period is not exempt from similar practices or new forms of abusive intrusion into the lives of citizens.
This report analyses surveillance and violations of basic rights that continue in this democratic period in Paraguay, in other forms including surveillance using the internet.
Mexico’s Constitution recognises the right of access to information and communication technologies (ICTs). However, the population has a low rate of access to the internet. The law recognises net neutrality, including the principles of non-discrimination and free access. However, there is documentary evidence of practices that run contrary to these principles. Meanwhile, the Mexican authorities have augmented their technical and legal powers of surveillance of communications. The legislation does not clearly and precisely identify which authorities are empowered nor in what circumstances surveillance may take place.
Costa Rica has laws that recognise and protect the following rights: privacy, freedom of expression, honour, freedom of conscience, religion, association and assembly, and non-discrimination. The laws are backed up by national doctrine and jurisprudence, that is, judicial literature and sentences that recognise and mould an environment for the protection of these rights. For the present report what is of interest is the “medium of the internet” or the protection of these rights on the internet.
This report will give a rapid overview of current regulations and the most relevant cases – in the courts and the media – affecting positively or negatively the exercise of human rights by Colombian citizens. We will review regulations on net neutrality, cyber crime, child protection, criminal investigation and intelligence activities, data retention and anonymity, emphasising the problems that many of these regulations pose for the protection of fundamental rights.