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The Struggle for Freedom Online in Mexico

Spoof image tweeted by Chavo del Toro (@chavodeltoro)

Spoof image tweeted by Chavo del Toro (@chavodeltoro)

Written by Alberto R. León and Jacobo Nájera.

Mexican citizens are fighting a telecommunications law proposed by President Enrique Peña Nieto and currently before the Senate. The draft law could present a serious threat to human rights online: it violates net neutrality, allows censorship and content blocking, and requires service providers to collect and retain users’ personal data at a broad level.

Libre Internet Para Todos (Free Internet for All), a local civic group in Mexico, says that the legislative initiative is currently on a “break” until July. This resulted from a lack of agreement among the committees charged with reviewing the law this past spring.

In light of this proposal and the possibility of its incorporation in the Mexican constitution, Mexican citizens have carried out various acts of protest on the web and in the streets. In April, a symbolic human chain (#NoMásPoderAlPoder) was formed traversing Mexico City, leading from the home of the nation's president to the Televisa Chapultec, the largest television station in Mexico.

Recently, #CascaritaXlaPatria took place, in an effort to oppose the Senate's decision to vote on the telecommunications legislation, in extra sessions, and during a time which coincides with the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Groups of activists have presented technological proposals and an international letter of support – these allies include Vía Libre, EFF, Richard Stallman, Cory Doctorow, Nighat Dad and Richard Sennett.

ContingenteMX presented an alternative technical proposal to the writing of this law, emphasizing defending human rights, where a person's human rights are the main focus and Internet neutrality, privacy, and non-retention of personal data is guaranteed — these are in fact requirements that have been accepted by international organizations such as Electronic Frontier Foundation, as well as comments issued by the Network Defense of Human Digital Rights for the amendment of the initiative of the law.

The date for establishing the telecommunications law is still uncertain and remains in danger of being “fast tracked” through the rest of the legislative process. The people, citizens and civil organizations, who are aware of and insist that the proposed citizen's initiatives for this purpose also be established and call for legislative priority, such as Libre Internet Para Todos, are supported by 127,000 people.  

Follow discussions and events on Libre Internet Para Todos, ContingentenMX, Libre Internet MX, DefenderInternet.

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