EspañolThe Bolivian government is to deliver a bill to Congress seeking to regulate internet access, Melanie Torrico, the director general of the state institution combating human trafficking, told press on Sunday, April 12.
“To avoid human trafficking we are drafting a bill to [regulate] access to internet,” she said. “Among its goals is to regulate the operations of so-called internet cafes, which are one of the places used to commit crimes without being detected.”
The bill would require internet cafes to have different rooms for adults and minors. They would also have to install surveillance cameras to identify users and software to prevent minors from visiting pornographic or “damaging” websites.
Torrico explained that through “cybernetic patrolling” the government would be able to monitor social-media groups and accounts linked to human trafficking. Furthermore, the bill would grant the government authority to intercept emails deemed “suspicious,” but Torrico didn’t clarify how such communications would be identified.
“We’ve currently been engaging in cybernetic patrolling for years, since the emergence of social media in the country,” said the official, who added that she could not disclose the methods used.
Opposition representatives have raised doubts over the stated aim of the bill. Opposition legislators Norma Piérola and Amlicar Barral suggested that the proposal aims to silence allegations against government posted on social media.
Some 27 percent of the women and children that disappear in Bolivia are kidnapped after having contact with their kidnappers through Facebook, according to the National Commission for the Protection of Infancy.
Ninety percent of the victims of human trafficking are women, and most of the cases occurred after being contacted via the social media, Torrico claimed.