Challenges and Best Practices for Internet Regulation in Africa and Latin America Center for Technology and Society (CTS/FGV)

30 September 2011 - A Workshop on Internet Governance for Development in Nairobi, Kenya


We have reached a point in which regulating some aspects of Internet seams to be inevitable, either for establish user's rights (such as access, privacy, net neutrality, etc) or to make clear the rights and obligations of ISPs, so they are safe to innovate. Nonetheless, reaching a balanced legal framework able to maintain Internet as an open and innovative environment is a huge challenge.

While Europe has been doing efforts for regional coordination on Internet Regulation, through EuroDIG and Council of Europe and the USA has been trying to implement it's legal standards through trade and plurilateral agreements, Latin America and African countries have been poorly dealing with the topic through regional perspective. As a result, due to the cross-boundaries nature of Internet, developed countries' agenda and standards tend to be exported to developing countries. Some of this standards tend to become a real element of censorship, through the establishment of severe intermediary liability, as a threat to both innovation and privacy. A clear example is how the Convention on Cybercrimes from the Council of Europe has become an instrument of pressure even for countries that are not signatories.

Measures implementing intermediary liabilities, patterns for net neutrality, or even establishing procedures for taking down websites, if not properly debated, are all prone to be exported. These topics are strategic for the multi-stakeholder community of Latin America and Africa, but without our own Agenda, the resistance for importing these standards and regulatory initiatives is week.

Therefore, this workshop has the goal to rethink the need for a regional, south-south articulation on Internet regulation, initially focused on intermediaries liability, privacy and innovation on the web.