What is happening here? President Enrique Peña Nieto is very determined to use the #LeyTelecom to put an end to your freedom to surf the web as we now know it. Whether as a research tool, an entertainment option or a call to action, a handful of public servants will have the authority to decide if your internet habits are “a threat to national security.” For this reason, on April 21 and 22, everyone joined #EPNvsInternet, and the results were amazing.
What could happen? #EPNvsInternet
Under Article 189 of the amendment: “telecommunication companies will be required to provide real-time geographic location of any type of communication device at the request of the authorized personnel working with national security agencies or the public servants that have the proper clearance”.
Furthermore, according to the article 197, companies that provide communication services must: “Block, inhibit or temporarily override telecommunication signals in critical events and places, citing public and national security reasons at the request of the competent authorities.”
In other words, every time an employee of the PGR (the State’s department of justice) believes that your actions, comments, interests and acquaintances on the Internet are dangerous (for someone … somehow) he can disable your Internet service or even the service provided to an entire area. Say goodbye to live coverage of social movements, say goodbye to activism via a Twitter hashtag, say goodbye to media, blogs and communities of all shapes and sizes not in line with the government’s policies.
As if this was not enough, the Internet service providers will be required to keep a detailed list of your internet private habits, ready to be relinquished to the authorities whenever they wish and for whatever reason they can imagine.
Moreover, the Secretary of the Interior may censor television and Internet content and put a lock on anything that doesn’t square with the law.
On the other hand, Internet will become a sort of pay-per-view service, similar to cable TV, as the providers may give broadband preference to some websites, while your service may lag while getting access to another, according to the deals established with each company. To understand more about the dangers posed to net neutrality, click here.
In a few words, this law will abolish your rights to free speech, to privacy, to security and to affordable service in the world’s most important communication medium.
The Facts #EPNvsInternet
The access to social networks, blogs and websites is one of the biggest headaches faced by Enrique Peña Nieto since 2012. This is the field where people who object to the government’s policies and security measures voice their opinion. It is also the field in which the press can publish non-government sponsored news and opinions. But above all, here is where you can be free to join any dialogue concerning government and its policies.
The federal government and several state entities have already tried to censor information on the web and attacked its users. The use of spy software FinFisher by the PGR and the indiscriminate arrest of cyber-activist Gustavo López Maldonado are just the tip of the iceberg.
However, in Mexico we have gone through our fair share of attempts to reduce Internet freedom and, by joining forces, we’ve managed to stop them. In 2009, under the slogan #InternetNecesario, we stopped Congress from approving a law that imposed a tax on our universal right to the Internet and also allowed for mass surveillance. This is our time to act again. We shall make a lot of noise.
How can you act? Make some noise #EPNvsInternet
On April 21 we started a media storm on social networks like Facebook and Twitter with the hashtag #EPNvsInternet, almost 8 hundred thousand tweets supported the hashtag. We have the support of many countries whose governments have tried to silence them. They are with us. Now is your time.
On April 22, our online actions were taken to the streets, and with the help of all the people summoned on a web that is still ours, we defended it on the nation’s Senate, where we’ve been listened before. Join our effort. #NoMasPoderAlPoder.
On April 22, everybody who shouted #NoMasPoderAlPoder and #ContraElSilencioMX were on the streets in Mexico City.
This isn‘t over, the fight for freedom on internet continues and the government has listened to us, but it has not yet guaranteed that we will not be censored.