22 Feb 2023 A 20-point agenda towards a just and sovereign digital future
In the context of digitalization that is rapidly revolutionizing the functioning of our societies, under a prevailing model that responds mainly to corporate interests, we propose the following points as principles for a digital architecture oriented towards the common good. These aim at guaranteeing individual and collective rights, promoting democratic, open and decentralized structures for digital technologies, preventing all forms of surveillance and social control, and promoting the equitable distribution of benefits, non-discrimination, decolonization and sovereignty.
The Internet: an inalienable universal commons
1. Promote the development of a decentralized digital system, with distributed power and transparency in its actions, so that users can make informed, willing and autonomous decisions about its development and uses.
Internet access: a human right and an essential public service
2. Guarantee access to good-quality and affordable connectivity as a human right, as well as the right to remain unconnected, without this being grounds for discrimination.
3. Regulate the infrastructure that guarantees universal connectivity as an essential public service, and foster connectivity conditions through public, community or co-managed public-community initiatives, including collective alternatives for access.
4. Ensure, in the case of the installation of connectivity infrastructure, especially on a large scale, in indigenous and/or rural communities, that their right to free, prior and informed consent is respected, as well as their right to refuse such installations.
5. Guarantee a minimum of 4G connectivity in all areas, without neglecting to conduct independent health and environmental studies on possible impacts of 5G networks and other sources of radiation. Also support the development of autonomous infrastructures, promoting technologies that do not require a central server and allowing their open interconnection with centralized networks.
Our data are ours
6. Establish strict regulations and public policies at national, regional and international levels to effectively protect privacy. Encourage the use of cryptography and restrict tracking techniques in digital spaces.
7. Put in place legal frameworks that recognize that intimate and personalized data are inviolable, that anonymized data are considered common property, and that economic and patrimonial rights over data belong by default to the community from which they originate.
8. Create data centers through the public sector, public universities and/or civic entities, which allow data to be held in the national territory and adopt artificial intelligence (AI) solutions that stimulate and benefit local and regional collective intelligence.
9. Apply legal restrictions on the use of facial recognition and biometrics. Public and private entities should adopt security protocols for communications and “smart” objects, and implement advanced security devices in cloud storage services.
For more democracy, put limits on corporate power
10. Push for strict regulatory measures, enforceable through autonomous public bodies, to prevent the monopolistic concentration of power in the hands of digital corporations, supplanting misleading and innocuous self-regulation by digital corporations.
11. Defend and respect net neutrality, guaranteeing that content is treated equally, without explicit or covert discrimination for its circulation.
12. Force large foreign companies to establish a legal presence in the country where they provide digital services, as well as retain sovereignty over the taxation of these services and enforce regulatory sovereignty over algorithms, data processing and IT security.
13. Prevent the co-optation of multilateral and internet governance spaces by multinational technology corporations through the existing “multi-stakeholder” system.
Free/open technologies for free societies
14. Prioritize the use of free and interoperable digital tools in public administration. Promote the development of cooperatives and small and medium-sized technological production and service companies, thus contributing to the generation of decent jobs and the reduction of technological dependence.
15. Faced with the abuse of the corporate social media, democratize communication through decentralized digital platforms, that respect users and their privacy and are interoperable, and which aim to promote effective contact between people and cultures.
16. Regulate new labour relations, especially telework and work on digital platforms, to safeguard workers’ rights.
17. Insert critical digital literacy into education programs, educating for sovereignty and autonomy and not for commercial consumption, which implies critical training processes for teachers. Likewise, inhibit the penetration of corporate platforms in the educational sphere, guaranteeing respect for privacy and the non-commercialization of the education community’s data.
18. Ensure that technology reaches the countryside according to a model of public or community management and build capacity for participatory evaluation of technologies by rural and/or peasant communities, in defense of food sovereignty, social justice and agroecological and environmental care.
Towards digital sovereignty in the Latin American and Caribbean region
19. Advance the cooperation and associativity in digital matters among the nations of Latin America and the Caribbean, in order to gradually replace the predatory primary-export economic matrix with collaborative models with high added value and environmental care.
20. Incorporate digital sovereignty into the regional integration agenda, moving towards decolonization and deconcentration and making a concerted impact as a region in the field of global internet governance.
This document was produced, after several years of research, consultations and debates, by the Latin American-Caribbean space Internet Ciudadana (People’s Internet), an initiative that brings together numerous social articulations and collectives, as well as communicators, digital activists, academics, peasants and educators to build common agendas towards an Internet of the peoples at the service of the common good. Buenos Aires, Argentina, 14/10/2022