Mexico Steps Back on Censorship Law For Now

The Mexican government has retreated on a new law that would give authorities more power to restrict Internet access after public outcry and fierce protests opposed it.

The draft of the bill, which had received support in the Senate, would allow authorities to “temporarily block, inhibit or annul telecommunications signals at events and places deemed critical for the public safety”. The law if enacted would also require telcos to hand over user data to officials.

Anti-censorship campaigners say that the law would allow the government to block sites at will. Protesters took the streets to say no and the bill is being reeled in as a result.

“Any other additional power … like the blocking of signals for national or public safety will be excluded from the reform,” said Senator Emilio Gamboa after the protests.

Raul Trejo is an expert on media at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, spoke with AP regarding the law and the protests. He said the government’s attempt to block Internet and telecom signals “is part of an international tendency.”

“A lot of governments are showing an interest in blocking signals,” Trejo said. “All governments are uncomfortable with the Internet.”