10th anniversary of the CELE Workshop in Buenos Aires 

Last week, the 10th edition of the workshop “For better internet regulation in Latin America”, organized by CELE, was held in the city of Buenos Aires. We had the honor of receiving almost 40 representatives of organizations that study, work and promote the defense of human rights in the digital sphere in our region. 

Over the last 10 years, more than 300 representatives of human rights organizations at the regional level have participated, with the intention of training and getting involved in the "digital rights" agenda. Participation has been plural and diverse. He convened organizations dedicated to human rights issues in general; gender, sexual and reproductive health; of native peoples and indigenous rights, and more. This year, marking the tenth anniversary of the Workshop, we have decided to hold a workshop specifically dedicated to organizations with experience in human rights issues on the Internet, in order to deepen and resume strategic discussions that have been – one could say – somewhat paused in the last two years.

In this sense, the workshop served as one of the first face-to-face meetings after more than two years of pandemic and virtuality. This point, we believe, is not minor: it was offered as a space to discuss and debate works not yet published, so the conversations were rich in content and feedback. Meetings with old friends and colleagues, building trust and having lunchtime conversations are also an important part of the strategic discussion on Internet governance in Latin America. 

Among the topics addressed were works on the emergence and development of civil society organizations dedicated to human rights issues on the Internet, as well as their role in the discussion on the regulation of platforms; Various regulatory proposals and possible supervisory mechanisms were also discussed. The second day of the Workshop began with a very interesting discussion on the nuances between surveillance, intelligence and the role of the State in the use of technologies for these purposes. The use of AI and the risks of the potential approval of the Second Protocol to the Budapest Convention by countries in our region were also discussed. The workshop was closed by the IACHR Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression, Pedro Vaca, who shared his vision at the regional level and the next steps of the Inter-American Dialogue on the Internet and human rights.

Perhaps the most important reflection in the framework of the workshop, visible from the beginning to its end, can be summed up in a single question: where are we going? The need to find consensus on the regulation of internet intermediaries in our region – so heterogeneous at the regulatory level, by the way – has been a crosscutting point in all the discussions. The need to have specific and up-to-date technical knowledge in order to participate in the discussions has also been highlighted. Technology advances and discussions become more complex: civil society must keep up to date in order to understand and defend people from the potential risks and abuses of these new tools.

This year and thanks to the support of Article19, the workshop has been replicated in Mexico City (Mexico), Belo Horizonte (Brazil) and will soon be held in Bogotá (see more info here), all this together with the partners of CELE in this project: Article 19 Mexico and Central America, Artigo 19 in Brazil and Fundación Karisma in Colombia, respectively. Each workshop has a specific program that reflects the discussions that take place in virtue of the social and political situation of each subregion. 

Calls for workshops are usually open and disseminated on social networks. We hope to be able to expand the base of organizations interested in participating in the next meetings. We are waiting for you!