NRIs collaborative session: Learning from the NRIs: exchanging experiences and insights on data retention, government access to data, and data literacy

21 Dec 2017 12:00h - 13:30h

Event report

[Read more session reports and live updates from the 12th Internet Governance Forum]

The moderator, Ms Jamila Venturini, Advisory Team, started the session indicating that the meeting was possible thanks to the participation of three National and Regional Initiatives on Internet Governance (NRIs): IGF Brazil, IGF Panama and Youth LACIGF. Next, she introduced the panellists and noted that the main objective was to share experiences related to data protection practices.

The first panelist was Ms Lia Hernandez, Panama IGF Coordinator, who spoke about several projects in Panama related to the collection of personal data that are being promoted by the government. She indicated that currently, the government can order the collection and storage of data collected over a period of 6 months, but that they are trying to extend this limit, which has a great impact on human rights. The lack of action from civil society was pointed as one of the barriers to fighting this initiatives.

Ms Maryant Fernandez Perez, Senior Policy Advisor at European Digital Rights-EDRI, intervened, to highlight three main points related to the rules of data protection in the European Union: First, that the laws on the cross border transfer of personal data with criminal prosecution purposes were being used to create more restrictive laws. Second, that the European Council had already reached the conclusion that any type of personal data should enjoy the same protections in different contexts. Finally, that the processes of regulation over personal data should be more transparent and inclusive.

The next panellist was Mr Bruno Bioni, IGF Brazil Coordinator, who spoke about the evolution of the discussions about personal data in the Brazilian IGF in the last 7 years. Bioni said that in the first moment the legal consequences of regulating data retention were discussed because Brazil did not have a law to authorise this retention. Then, the creation of the Marco Civil de Internet and different sentences in the European Union influenced the specific development of laws on personal data in the country. Finally, the discussion currently focuses on intermediaries and the jurisdiction of Brazilian judges to request access to information stored by companies abroad.

After that, Ms Veronica Arroyo, member of Youth Observatory and Internet Ambassadors, began with the explanation of what the NRI Youth LACIGF was: An event held by young people to discuss issues related to Internet governance, that takes place one day before the LACIGF. Arroyo said that one of the topics of interest of the NRI is data literacy, a term with which young people do not seem very familiar with, but it is important to understand the regulation on data and other issues such as privacy and security of information. Other topics such as capacity building and the greater involvement of young people were also mentioned as objectives so that young people have a better understanding of these issues.

Finally, Ms Federica Tortorella, IGF Dominican Republic Coordinator, referred to the laws of data protection in her country, which also include some provisions related to digital literacy. She mentioned that the NRIs of the Dominican Republic launched a survey to find out the level of knowledge about digital literacy. The survey was answered by 66 people and the results showed that most of the participants did not know the concept of personal data, or they did not understand it correctly. This suggests that more work should be done to create capacities to have a greater understanding of the regulation of these issues.

After all the interventions, the moderator gave the floor to Ms Flavia Lefevre, Representative of Civil Society in involved with consumers rights, so that she could comment on a civil society initiative aimed at improving the data protection law in Brazil. Lefevre commented that this initiative has faced many obstacles, such as convincing the population of the danger that exists in allowing unlimited access by governments and companies to their personal data.

Having concluded all the presentations, the moderator opened a round of questions. Most of them were related to the impact of new technologies on privacy and on whether  the increase of cybercrime would have a direct impact on the laws on personal data.

By Carlos Guerrero