#EPNvsInternet is a hashtag that has completely taken over Mexican social media today. The hashtag is a sign of protest from young Mexicans angry at a new law being driven forward by President Enrique Peña Nieto which might curb freedom of expression on the Internet. The hashtag has been used 33,000 times so far and is the second most trending topic on Twitter worldwide. This is the biggest viral protest in Mexico this year. So what exactly is everyone up in arms about?
1. The Right To Access The Net. Enrique Peña Nieto's new law currently under review in the Senate, Ley Federal de Telecomunicaciones y Radiodifusión, has ostenisbly been drafted to provide greater access to the Internet across the country. However according to activists, certain conditions in the bill could actually allow the Mexican government to deny free internet access and could even grant them the power to cut off web access on phones and in people's homes.
2. Surveillance. According to activists organizing this digital protest, under the new bill, Mexican authorities could have access to data from any individual or organization, without need for a court order. There are also no clear limits established for the soliciting of information nor clear rules on the usage of this data. There is also no parameters for the creation of an independent organization that could monitor the goverment's data surveillance program.
3. Freedom of Expression. According to article 197 of the proposed bill, companies shouled "block or temporarily deny the communication signals from events and places of significance to national security and inform relevant authorities." This leaves the way open for denying people's rights to live stream protests and also block phone calls and text messages from people in protests or marches, representing a serious infringement on civil liberty.
4. The Neutral Net. Under EPN's new law, Mexico's telecommunications companies could give access and speed priority to websites like Facebook or Amazon, which could ostensibly pay forr this increased promotion. Smaller sites, meanwhile, could have their access restricted. There would be no independent body to monitor how this new right would be utilized, meaning telcom companies could sell their services to the highest bidder.