Monday, February 13, 2012

Los Twitteros: Mexico to Pass Legislation on Social Media Regulation

Drug cartels and other associated crime have been major issues that have plagued the Mexican government in this modern era. With death tolls mounting over means of distribution and power struggles, the government is seeking to pass a major piece of legislation that would curb a fair amount of this internal turmoil. What kind of legislationn? A regulation of Twitter, of course.
The justifications by lawmakers to pass a bill of this magnitude is not founded without a level of moral high ground. Twitter has been used by some Mexicans to avoid police sobriety checkpoints and there is greater speculation that the cartels are using social media tools as a means of strengthening their internal operations. According to Nazario Norberto,  “We have to regulate these websites to make sure there aren’t people breaking the law, making death threats or committing crimes via electronic means.”
However, the legislation is coming under scrutiny for its ethical implications. A provision in the bill would create a "cybernetic police force"to monitor such Twitter feeds as @AntiAA_DF, Anti Alcoholimetro. Even though the bill has been created with the purpose of stopping minor to severe illegal activity, civil liberty groups and the greater Mexican population are outraged at the prospect of having Big Brother watching their activity.
In the context of our class discussion, this type of mandate regulation offers a significant example of the dichotomy of ethics that challenges government regulation of media. The regulation of the digital space through acts of surveillance is the next step from what Havens & Lotz describe in Chapter 4. The parallels of justification between the Federal Trade Commission previous mandates and the Mexican legislative proposal are positioned as means to protect the greater public and is a necessary condition to observe as it raises question of digital control. It will be interesting to watch how and if this law is passed in Mexico and if a similar type of regulation is adopted in the United States under the shared logic of public crime protection.

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