Peruvian Congress seeks to criminalize "irregular" Internet use after journalist arrested for e-mail hacking

The case of Peruvian journalist Rudy Palma, who served two months in jail for hacking into the e-mail of government officials, has started a national debate in the South American country over how to regulate information technology without threatening other liberties, according to the newspaper La República.

An analysis from the newspaper found that the Peruvian Congress wants to criminalize all "irregular" use of new information and Internet technology. This approach threatens to levy punishments disproportionate to the crime, according to La República. For example, running a fraudulent pay scheme online would carrying a harsher sentence than producing child pornography.

Organizations like the Peruvian National Press Association (ANP in Spanish) are concerned over the gaps in the bills proposed that could threaten freedom of expression and the press. According to the website Generación.com, the ANP said that the privacy of users and freedom of expression and the press would be the most effected.

Last August, several international organizations, including Human RIghts Watch, penned an open letter to the Peruvian Congress regarding the right to freedom of information. Besides the actions of international organizations, Peruvian civil society expressed its concern by sending a petition with 5,000 signatures to the Congress in the hope of stalling the approval of the cyber-crime bills, according to Perú21.

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.

More Articles