Privacy Rights Activism in Latin America

Throughout Latin America, new surveillance practices threaten to erode individuals’ privacy, yet there is limited public awareness about the civil liberties implications of these rapid changes. Some countries are pursuing cybercrime policies that seek to increase law enforcement power without strong legal safeguards. In other nations, government-run biometric identification systems are on the rise, while certain governments are even turning to drones to aid in their surveillance activities. A culture of secrecy surrounds these surveillance practices, and citizens remain largely unaware of what types of information are being collected and how it is being used against them.For Latin American privacy advocates, all of this makes for an uphill battle. There are relatively few NGOs working in the region specifically on privacy and surveillance, and the lack of specialization is further complicated by a pervasive societal attitude that security trumps privacy. Despite the inherent difficulties, the fledgling privacy movement has been working tirelessly to shed light on overarching surveillance practices and to preserve civil liberties in the face of these changes. Social media and blogs have made a huge impact in activism work in several countries throughout the region.

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