Net Neutrality is yet again under attack, this time in Mexico

Today, Access Now, along with a coalition of consumer advocacy organizations that includes Electronic Frontier Foundation, Fight for the Future, National Hispanic Media Coalition, New America’s Open Technology Institute, and Public Knowledge, urged the Mexican Federal Telecommunications Institute (IFT) to strengthen its Net Neutrality proposal. You can read our comments in English and in Spanish.

For the benefits of information and communications technologies to spread equitably and freely, people must be able to access online content without undue interference from their internet service provider (ISP). Further, strong Net Neutrality protections are key in promoting human rights online, such as the right to free expression, information, work, health, and education. Access to a free and open internet is particularly important for marginalized communities. Unfortunately, the IFT draft guidelines would undermine these goals and ultimately harm Mexicans.

The draft guidelines should be revised to address the following concerns:

The IFT should not allow or facilitate internet shutdowns or permit intentional disruption of internet services.

The draft guidelines would allow governments to shut down the internet. Rules that allow governments to intentionally disrupt the internet or mobile apps grant the government control of what people say or do online. These provisions are unconstitutional, contravene international human rights principles, and would cause significant harm because they may spur violence and prevent people from communicating and earning a living.

The IFT should impose strong Net Neutrality protections and remove provisions allowing for paid prioritization and zero rating.

The draft guidelines do not explicitly prohibit ISPs from blocking or slowing down content. They also allow, but should not allow, ISPs to engage in the harmful practices of paid priority (giving preferential treatment to certain content over others in exchange for payment) and zero rating (exempting certain services from a data cap).

The IFT should provide robust ISP privacy protections.

The IFT proposes essentially no privacy protections in its regulation. Because an ISP provides access to the internet, it has extensive data about its customers, including where they live and what they look at online. Without strong protections through regulation, ISPs are not likely to protect their customers’ privacy. Not only should the regulation include thorough transparency requirements, but it should also include meaningful and substantive privacy protections.

The IFT should require improved ISP network management transparency.

While transparency on its own is not sufficient to protect users against harmful ISP network management practices, transparency is essential to better allow internet users and the IFT to hold ISPs accountable for those practices. In particular, ISPs should disclose technical details about users’ connections, such as expected performance metrics.

Join the fight: you have until April 13 to tell the IFT that their proposal will not protect consumers and must be revised.

Together, we can build a rights-respecting digital future in which we can all enjoy the human rights to freely express ourselves, seek information, find a job, and access healthcare and education. If we work in solidarity for strong Net Neutrality rules across the globe, we could see a world where the internet delivers on its promise for all of us, not just the privileged few.