Dispute at a Crossroads
By João Carlos Caribé
Director of Activism – Mega Movement (*) – Brazil
Latin America sees a huge window of opportunity on the Internet-related freedoms and human rights agenda. The world looks to our continent with great respect thanks to its progressive Internet policies, whether the legally guaranteed net neutrality in Chile, the excellence of the digital inclusion model adopted in Uruguay, or Brazil’s expectations of becoming the first country to have a bill of Internet rights, the Marco Civil da Internet.
The concentration of Latin American telecommunications services in the hands of a few companies – most of them European and North American – has become a serious threat to freedom, privacy, and net neutrality. Even though for the ITU we are under the direction of CITEL, Brazil and other countries where European companies are operating are feeling strong pressure to adopt ETNO guidelines, which means that the Internet and its current multistakeholder governance model are under serious threat.
The disputes over the Internet occur in different areas, not only in the legal field but also in technical and political arenas. We are witnessing a unique moment in the history of humanity, one where “social globalization” has become possible and is being strongly challenged by the actors of “economic globalization”. The outcome of this conflict has yet to be decided, but it will undoubtedly shape the XXI century’s society and economy. As civil society, we must coordinate our efforts and face this dispute together within the context of Mercosur. Let’s join the fight!
(*) The Mega Movement received the 2011 Frida Award in the Freedoms category.