Transparency,​ ​Digital​ ​Rights,​ ​and​ ​NAFTA

NAFTA: Don’t trade away our digital rights

August 18, 2017

Voices-Voix signed on to a joint statement by organizations from Mexico, Canada and the United States regarding NAFTA and its implications for our digital rights and democratic rights.

The statement highlights the need for increased transparency and protection of digital rights. It also demands that the NAFTA renegotiation process be more transparent, inclusive and accountable. The implications are also on free expression, privacy and democratic rights.

An excerpt from the statement:

We, the undersigned, are Internet freedom and public interest advocates drawn from all three nations party to this agreement, who are dedicated to the rights of all peoples to access cultural and educational resources, to enjoy a free and open Internet, and to benefit from open and needs-driven innovation.

As the United States, Mexico and Canada begin talks on the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) this week, we write to share our concerns about NAFTA’s potential impact on the critical functions of the Internet and its potential to threaten access to information, the dissemination of news, cultural exchange and democratic organizing.

First and foremost, we call upon the United States, Mexico and Canada to meaningfully reform trade negotiation processes to make them more transparent, inclusive and accountable. It is unacceptable that binding rules are created in a forum that is inaccessible and often hostile to input from members of the public. Specifically, we would like to see: public release of text proposals by governments before negotiations, with clear processes established for members of the public to comment on them; consolidated versions of negotiating texts published between negotiating rounds; locations and times of key meetings announced well ahead of time; and the establishment of consultative trade groups that are broadly representative of both business and public interest stakeholders with a commitment to conducting deliberations openly.

Without these reforms, public trust in trade processes will continue to wane, and governments will face significant popular resistance to agreements based on process alone.

Read the full letter at: