Mexico: Everybody Needs Net Neutrality

By Jacobo Nájera

Our senators will soon decide the future of the internet in Mexico
when they take up the proposed federal law of telecommunications and
broadcasting. This bill was proposed by President Peña Nieto this
year, and reached the Senate in March. If approved, it will threaten
basic human rights in Mexico. Senator Javier Lozano’s and new version
are no improvement.

The bill has three principal points that attack internet freedom.

* Attacking network neutrality, allowing ISPs to prejudice access
to some web sites over other sites.

* Massive surveillance: ISPs will be required to record users’
internet usage for the state.

* Arbitrary censorship: it will allow functionaries to block
telecommunications signals without even a trial.

How does it attack network neutrality? Allows internet service
providers to contract with the internet access Suppliers differentiated
capabilities. This says that the ISP can provide you with more bandwidth
if you pay more, but it goes much further than that. It also allows the
ISP to accept payments from sites to give users faster access to those

What about surveillance? Article 190 fraction II, imposes a «data
retention» requirement on ISPs, saying that they must record each user’s
internet contacts and keep the data for a long time. The European Court
of Justice recently overturned a similar law of the European Union,
saying that it violates human rights.

Where is the censorship? 190 VII, stipulates that the government
can arbitrarily block telecommunication signals without even a trial.

Internet neutrality means the principle that all internet trafic is
treated the same, without discrimination, limitation nor interference,
independently of the sender, the recipient, the device, the service,
the application, the protocol, the format, or the material being

Autonomy for Internet users is possible only with Internetnet
neutrality. If network operators are allowed to decide how people can
connect, the Internet becomes a scheme for their control over the
public. The media cannot be independent when each site must pay
not to be slowed down.

The bill’s Internet censorship and surveillance make the attack more
explicit, directly attacking human rights recognized since before the
Internet existed. We know that a society under surveillance changes
its behavior, and that dissidents will be censored.

Mexico’s senators have the responsibility to legislate for a free
internet and to warrant internet neutrality, to respect users privacy
and guarantee the freedom expression on line. They must correct the
wrongs in this bill to make sure that Mexicans can continue to have
access to the internet and freedom in telecommunications, as
stated in Article 6 of the Constitution of Mexico. On the contrary,
if the senators approve these points as written, the Internet will
become a tool to undermine the Constitution, giving unjust profit to
some businesses and unjust power to the state.

Translated by: Gabriela Numa Pacheco and Richard Stallman

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