Mexicans fear restriction of online freedom of expression after signing of ACTA treaty

The Mexican federal government signed the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) on Wednesday, July 11, creating controversy since the Senate and the Federal Commission of Telecommunications feared that signing the international agreement could put freedom of expression at risk, reported the news site Sin Embargo.

ACTA is a multinational agreement that seeks to fight piracy of goods, brands, inventions, and intellectual and artistic works, according to the news site Global Voices.

But its critics say that the agreement attacks Internet freedom of expression, said Octavio Islas, investigation director of the World Internet Project in Mexico, according to the magazine Alto Nivel.

Among the most controversial sections of this agreement is the forcing of Internet providers to monitor user communication, modify the rules of "fair use" of material protected by copyright, and criminalize the shared use of digital files, explained the blog Sopitas.

The Mexican Institute of Intellectual Property defended the signing of the agreement and said that "with ACTA, no websites will censored, nobody, not even authorities will persecute Internet users for sharing private, not-for-profit files," said Rodrigo Roque, owner of IMPI, as quoted by the newspaper La Jornada.

Note from the editor: This story was originally published by the Knight Center’s blog Journalism in the Americas, the predecessor of LatAm Journalism Review.