Target: Enrique Peña Nieto, President of Mexico
Goal: Reject limitations on the right to privacy and freedom of expression online
Tracking internet users without a warrant and denying freedom of expression online may soon be lawful in Mexico. The country’s senate has recently passed a bill designed to “provide broader access to the internet,” however several provisions included in the bill actually limit the rights of internet users. The bill even proposes that the government be able to shut off internet access to phones and homes at will.
Article 197 in the proposed bill will make it necessary for internet and cellular service providers to monitor and “block or temporarily deny the communication signals from events and places of significance to national security and inform relevant authorities.” This provision could be used to shut down online coverage of protests, as well as cut off the phone communications of demonstrators during times of political unrest.
The bill will also legalize data gathering and retention, allowing cellular and internet communications to be stored for up to two years. Under the proposed bill, Mexican officials would be given unfettered access to data collected about any individual or organization. The bill sets no clear limits on how this data can be used, nor does it appoint any party to ensure fair and proper use of the data.
The bill would also abolish net neutrality, and would give service providers the option to prioritize the speed of certain websites for profit. Again, there has been no independent body proposed to ensure that this new right is not abused or manipulated.
While improving internet access is important, several provisions of the bill would negate the benefits, and even pose a risk to online freedom in Mexico. Your signature will demand that the bill is rejected and revised, excluding articles that will infringe on the privacy and freedom of expression of Mexican citizens.
Dear President Nieto,
The Mexican senate has recently passed a bill that would allow the surveillance of online and cellular communications, as well as mandate their storage for a period of two years. The bill will also allow the government to block access to websites and individuals that it believes violate good customs and morality.
The bill has proposed no limits on how stored data can be accessed and used, nor has it appointed any independent body to ensure that the government does not abuse its power over communications. With the broad terminology of the bill and a lack of monitoring, the provisions of the bill are left open to abuse by law enforcement and government organizations. I ask that the bill be rejected until all provisions abridging the rights to privacy and freedom of expression are dropped.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: AZRainman via Flickr Creative Commons