Peru: The Cyber Crime Bill is Back

On April 11, Peru's Congress was scheduled [es] to discuss various laws related to ICTs and the digital future of the country. Among these laws, the one that has generated the most attention is the Cyber Crimes Law [es], known in the online world as #LeyBeingolea, for the name of its main proponent, Congressman Alberto Beingolea. Though it was not addressed in the day's session, new developments are expected in the coming days.

This bill had some ups and downs and, along the way, civil society made various suggestions and proposals to improve its implications for users. Attorney Erick Iriarte published comments on the bill [es] on his blog, Iriarte & Associates, mainly directed at standardizing the use of internationally accepted terms on the topic of cyber crime, precision in the use of these terms, and normalization with the Budapest Convention (which had not been signed [es] by Peru).

The bill had serious questions upon meeting its pre-dictum elaborated on by the Justice and Human Rights Commission [es] (pdf), not only due to the presumption that a good portion of the text would be copied from various sources, but rather by constituting a probable threat to privacy and freedom of expression on the Internet [es], despite no longer considering issues like ancillary criminal liability of Internet Service Providers.

In fact, the bill contained more concrete threats to users; it “would eliminate online anonymity, it would make companies comply with government requests for user's personal data, and would threaten Internet users with the risk of imprisonment for their online activities,” according to Jochai Ben-Avie of Access.

Similarly, Miguel Morachimo, an attorney from [es] the Hiperderecho collective created a platform entitled A Better Cyber Crimes Bill [es] for discussions and feedback, where he proposed five points that “will help have a Cyber Crimes Law that grants us security without taking away fundamental liberties.” Morachimo explained [es]:

…parece que el Congreso ya no está promoviendo activamente el Proyecto de Ley de Delitos Informáticos y, a cambio, se está trabajando en la adopción de la Convención de Budapest sobre la Ciberdelincuencia. Sin embargo, dado no se ha hecho ningún anuncio oficial al respecto, esta batalla aún no ha terminado. De hecho, el pasado 18 de septiembre, el congresista Eguren instó al Congreso de la República a incluir el Proyecto de Ley de Delitos Informáticos en la agenda de debate del Pleno.

…it appears that Congress is no longer actively promoting the Cyber Crimes Bill and, in return, is working to adopt the Budapest Convention on Cybercrime. Nevertheless, given that no official announcement has been made in regards to this, the battle has not ended yet. In fact, on September 18, 2012, Congressman Eguren urged the Congress of the Republic to include the Cyber Crimes Bill on the Parliament's discussion agenda. [es]

The fact that Congress did not discuss the bill in the end left many people dissatisfied. Twitter users @yonsy and @coyotegris, attorney Erick Iriarte, commented:

@yonsy: @congresoperu les falto la ley de delitos informaticos, #LeyBeingolea … a ver si mañana se define de una vez su regreso a comision :)

@yonsy@congresoperu you missed the cyber crimes bill, #LeyBeingolea … let's see if its return to the commission is determined tomorrow once and for all :)

@coyotegris: @yonsy @congresoperu regreso a comision?, tas mal, eso debe irse para el archivo !!

@coyotegris@yonsy @congresoperu return to the commission? you're not well, that should go into the files !!

Another bill that was expected to be discussed was known as the Law of Denial [es], which would incorporate article 316-A to the Penal Code to punish those who approve, justify, deny or minimize crimes committed by members of terrorist organizations “established by firm court order,” which has generated criticism and rejection among jurists, press associations and civil society, who argue that it would threaten the freedom of opinion and the right to analyze judicial decisions on terrorism.

Recently, evenHuman Rights Watch requested [es] that this bill be shelved, indicating that its vague language “violates the freedom of expression” and that “it could inhibit legitimate expressions, such as criticizing a judicial sentence relating to terrorist acts or publishing an interview with people convicted of terrorism.”

Much like in the case of the previous bill, this one also sparked conversations on Twitter, including one involving Ideele magazine (@ideeleradio) and Antonio Ardiles (@AntonioArdines), a conflict resolution consultant and advisor for mining companies:

@ideeleradio: IDL: Ley del #Negacionismo caerá porque #TC la declarará inconstitucional http://bit.ly/150ZuG0

@ideeleradio: IDL: The Law of #Denial [es] will be dropped because #TC [es] (Constitutional Tribunal) will declare it unconstitutional http://bit.ly/150ZuG0 [es]

@AntonioArdines: @ideeleradio #Negacionismo Ley es una buena alternativa para evitar los excesos, no debemos temer quienes vivimos bajo el marco de la ley

@AntonioArdines@ideeleradio The Law of #Denial [es] is a good alternative to avoid excesses, we should not fear those who live under the framework of the law

But there were other laws relating in varying forms to the digital world which were discussed and approved, such as the telework law [es], the library system law [es], the electronic medical records law [es] and the technology transfer law (here is the bill [es] and ruling [es])

In any case, we look forward to what will happen in the upcoming days with the two bills that remain pending.

Thumbnail via Shutterstock. Copyright: Hans-Joachim Roy

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