On April 22, the Official Gazette of the Republic of Argentina published Resolution No. 13/2014 by the Secretariat of Communications of the Ministry of Federal Planning, Public Investment and Services. By that resolution, the ARGENTINA INTERNET POLICY COMMISSION (AIPC) is created within the SECRETARIAT OF COMMUNICATIONS "to establish its rules of procedure, to coordinate the participation of the various stakeholders and to design a national strategy on Internet and governance." It should be considered good news the decision of the Government to create a specific office to develop Internet policy. In Argentina, it was necessary because, to be honest, it is difficult to determine a concrete public policy in this area, which is frequently subjected to regulatory measures from various government offices. Concentrating initiatives or plans in a single entity to give way to broad and serious discussion can yield positive results. But we must closely follow the steps taken by the Commission recently created. Here, I propose some suggestions in order to contribute to the success of the committee and prevent it from becoming a useless bureaucratic entity.
First, there is an ongoing
very important international meeting in San Pablo, Brazil -Net Mundial-, these
days that was called to discuss the future of Internet governance. Without regard to the outcome,
the meeting is important because there are not only government representatives
discussing the matter at hand. The governance that we defend on
the Internet is based on a model of multi-stakeholder supervision that brings
together governments, businesses, academics, technicians and representatives of
civil society, and NGOs related to the subject. The Commission created in
Argentina, should follow this model, and one of the first steps should be to
form a panel discussion that brings together these sectors and gives them
effective, not only formal, participation.
Second, in the preamble to
the resolution, the potential treatment of different topics by the Commission
which go beyond Internet governance are included. Among them is a range of topics
including cyber crime, net neutrality, and the domains related problems. These issues often are part of
what we commonly call "Internet regulation." Respect for human rights should
be put at the centre of public policies in these areas. Doing anything differently could
be very dangerous. Therefore, I propose that the Commission should carry out a human rights impact assessments prior to the formal
submission of draft laws or administrative rules linked to Internet regulation.
This is key for the Commission to function properly.
Third, it is important
that the resolution assumes, at least implicitly, the deficit of official representation
in major forums that Argentina has shown in recent years. Without detracting from the advisors
of the Ministry of Foreign Affaires and other officials coming from the
Secretariat of Communications who have participated in recent meetings, the truth
is that at the "Internet Governance Forum" -IGF-, the most important
forum dedicated to discussing issues of governance and regulation created under
the auspices of the United Nations, and at the meeting held in Brazil, even with the attendance of the Secretary of Communications for the first time in this type of events, Argentina has lacked high-level delegations and has not had a major voice in
the debates. This was most likely due to the
absence of a clear national policy on these issues. Therefore, it is essential that
the Commission works in partnership with multiple stakeholders in the field,
and as stated in the resolution, works to "provide support and contribute
to more and better Argentine representation at international forums and
In short, the creation of
this Commission should be welcome. But we have to see how its work will
be implemented before we cheer.
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An Internet Policy Commission in Argentina: Good news, but ...
Publicadas por Eduardo Bertoni
en Twitter @ebertoni. Doctor en Derecho. Director de la Agencia de Acceso a la Información Pública y Ex Director Nacional de Protección de Datos Personales, Argentina. Fundador del Centro de Estudios en Libertad de Expresión y Acceso a la Información (CELE) de la Facultad de Derecho e la Universidad de Palermo. Ex-Director Ejecutivo de Due Process of Law Foundation (DPLF) hasta mayo de 2009. Entre 2002 y 2005, Relator Especial para la Libertad de Expresión de la Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos (CIDH) en la Organización de Estados Americanos (OEA).