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  • Mexican Senator Omar Fayad (L) became the subject of intense criticism for his cybercrime bill, seen as problematic for freedom of expression, Oct. 30, 2015.

    Mexican Senator Omar Fayad (L) became the subject of intense criticism for his cybercrime bill, seen as problematic for freedom of expression, Oct. 30, 2015. | Photo: @omarfayad

Critics said the first draft of the bill would criminalize ordinary internet users and would serve to silence critics of the government.

Mexican Senator Omar Fayad offered Monday to “burn” his recently tabled bill, known as the Federal Law to Prevent and Punish Cyber Crime, after a massive backlash from Internet users who said the law would criminalize ordinary Internet use and silence critics.

“I put forward all options: correct, delete, increase, or redraft starting from scratch... If what you want is for me to burn it, we'll burn it, but let it be known throughout social consciousness and across networks that we never wanted to censor, I would never do that,” said Fayad.

Activists and Internet users reacted strongly after the bill was first presented last week by Senator Fayad, who represents the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party.

The Mexican Association of Right to Information, known as Amedi, said the bill "seeks to criminalize and punish, in general, the expressions of citizens who use digital technologies and applications, network and social-digital platforms, including those used to show their discontent with the government and arbitrary acts committed by authorities.”

Amdei was concerned over the ambiguous language used throughout the bill and the requirement in Article 11 of the bill that obliges telecommunications companies to cooperate with government authorities and keep user data for two years.

The rights group went so far as to claim that the bill is unconstitutional and that existing conventions such as the Budapest Convention on Cybercrime, which Mexico is a signatory to, are sufficient with the correct application.

The Internet activist group known as Anonymous also posted a sharp rebuke of the bill in a seven-minute long video, saying the bill was aimed at censorship.

“Let us stop making excuses, this bill, far from helping people, simply seeks to censor and infringe on the human right of freedom of expression,” said one portion of the video.

Fayad specified that the bill was presented solely on his initiative and not his party. He insisted that the bill would proceed in one form or another.

teleSUR
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