Peruvians demand their president not negotiate away their online rights

Peruvian civil society organizations like Hiperderecho, a partner organization with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, are organizing an online campaign to collect signatures demanding that the country's president, Ollanta Humala Tasso, establish clear, "non-negotiable" points during the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations with the United States and other Pacific nations that could affect Peruvians' access to the Internet, among other issues.

According to the No Negociable (Not Negotiable!) campaign, the TPP conditions on intellectual property "contain positions on authors' rights that could put at risk freedom of expression, user privacy and the capacity in innovate" online in Peru. Among the other causes for concern, the group claims, the agreement pulls some articles from the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement and Stop Online Privacy Act, which were both defeated in the USA and Europe because of their impact on human rights,

One of the most concerning aspects for these organizations about the Peruvian case is the possible imposition of more and greater obligations on Internet service providers. If the TPP is signed as is these companies would become responsible for what their users do online. "These new obligations can lead to intermediaries policing their own networks, affecting users' privacy, whose content would be inspected, and ultimately reduce space for free speech," argues the campaign's website.

This would lead to increased protections for copyrighted works and hurdles to access them via digital media, "weakening the right to access culture and public awareness in general."

The TPP has been under negotiation since 2008 and includes countries around the Pacific Ocean, including Asia. Its closed-door negotiations have generated cries for greater disclosure and protests in some participating countries, like the U.S., Australia and New Zealand, after news about its content was leaked.

In 2011, a leaked draft chapter on intellectual property set off a series of demonstrations by freedom of expression advocates. One of these groups was the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which is also leading an online signature campaign through its website Stop the Trap.

Besides advocating for digital rights, the campaign in Peru also seeks protection for issues related to health and investment.


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.