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Mission and Purpose
Derechos Digitales is a not for profit organization that aims at developing, defending, and promoting human rights through digital technologies that contribute to an egalitarian society.
Origins and Development
Derechos Digitales was founded in 2005 in Chile by María Paz Canales (current Executive Director) and 13 other members including Alberto Cerda, Daniel Álvarez and Claudio Ruiz as part of a University project. Since then the group has grown into an independent NGO, adding new members, staff, and an internship program. Its work and diverse membership (from Venezuela, Colombia, and Mexico) reflect the organization's aims at having an impact across Latin America.
Organizational Structure, Membership, and Funding
Possibly due to its mostly online presence, the organization's staff is itself quite small. They currently have 14 full-time employees at their head office in Chile.
Regional branching out began in 2015. The organization is part of the National Council on Domain Names and IP Numbers, Creative Commons, IFEX (formerly the International Freedom of Expression Exchange), and the Association for Progressive Communications.
The organization's funding from 2016 was $443,561 USD ($535,588 in 2015), and comes from international foundations, governmental agency grants, private companies, universities, consulting firms and private donations. A donate button is available on their website and there are plans to hold private donation campaigns but these have not been carried out in the past.
Specializations, Methods and Tools
The organization works with three main areas: freedom of expression, privacy and securing personal data, authors rights (copyright) and access to knowledge. It carries out research, public outreach campaigns, and proposes public policies in these three areas. It also has publications on internet governance although it is not an official line of work in its stated mission.
Major Projects and Events
One major axis of work is its publication reports and news (see section below). Eight campaigns have been launched since its foundation which follow the three areas of work outlined above. The first one was a double campaign on author's rights in light of legislative discussions on authors' rights in 2008 (Trato Justo para Todos (Fair Treatment for Everyone), and No Soy Delincuente (I'm Not a Delinquent)). These were followed by four campaigns that have come to a close: Enlazar es Bueno (Linking is Good); an international collaboration with R3D and Access now for Internet Libre MX (Internet is Good Mexico); No Temas a Internet (title has a double meaning, No Topics on Internet/ Don't Fear the Internet) was a campaign for safe digital freedom of expression for privacy rights and against censorship through misuse of copyright; a campaign to involve private companies, grassroots organizations and the Chilean government on privacy and internet access called Yo <3 Internet (I <3 Internet).
Two more campaigns are ongoing: Internet es Nuestra (The Internet is Ours) and TPP Abierto (Open TPP) . Motivated by the Global Internet Governance Forum the former pushes back on the Free Basics model of free but limited internet provided by private corporations. It asks governments to commit to policies that produce affordable and high-quality open internet access which boosts democratic systems in Latin America. To this end, it highlights policy areas like user privacy protection, freedom of expression and net neutrality as a means to fight against censorship, the right to access culture and knowledge through more proportional copyright, cybersecurity, and the recognition of multi-party input for internet governance. Open TPP is a campaign to bring transparency to the Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations but seems to be halted given the change in the new USA administration.
Analysis and Lessons Learned
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Publications of major research began in 2009 with Alberto Cerda's Academic Publishing and Editorial Policies, while their most recent book Who Defends your Information evaluates Chilean ISP companies' responses to government requests for users' personal information. The majority of publications focus on Chile, followed by Latin America at large. There are also reports on Mexico, Columbia, Paraguay, Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador, Honduras, Panamá, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela. The organization has made several of these publications available in English as well. Some of the publications are the product of collaboration with international organizations like the World Wide Web Foundation, Centre for Internet and Human Rights, the Association for Progressive Communications, and Coding Rights.
The organization also publishes short articles on technology, politics, legal analysis on digital events and cybersecurity and has a weekly newsletter the public can sign up for.
Lead image: ONG Derechos Digitales/Facebook, http://bit.ly/2W3oV7P