Argentina’s internet environment remained free in 2018, as users generally experience unfettered access to online content and high engagement on social media. However, concerns about online manipulation resurfaced ahead of presidential elections in October 2019, resulting in coordinated efforts to prevent the spread of disinformation among political parties, media associations, and social media platforms. While Argentina does not suffer from high levels of violence against journalists, harassment campaigns against journalists and human rights activists can have a chilling effect.
Argentina is a representative democracy with lively media and civil society sectors. Mauricio Macri came to power in 2015 promising sweeping social and economic reforms following more than a decade of administrations under Néstor Kirchner (2003-2007) and Cristina Fernández de Kirchner (2007-2015). However, social polarization and anti-government protests have grown amid high inflation and public spending cuts.
June 1, 2018 – May 31, 2019
Argentina’s anti-trust regulator approved the mega-merger between Telecom Argentina and Grupo Clarín’s cable TV provider Cablevisión, creating the largest telecommunications player in the country (see A4).
Ahead of general elections in October 2019, Argentina’s electoral council announced a series of measures to address disinformation and other manipulation techniques online, including publishing a register of candidates’ social media accounts and official websites (see B5).
Argentina’s Congress debated legislation aiming to protect intermediaries from liability for content published by third parties, unless they fail to comply with a court order. Despite support from digital rights groups, the bill failed to advance in 2018 (see B3).
After visiting Argentina in May 2019, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to privacy expressed concerns about safeguards for surveillance and recommended the creation of an independent oversight body (see C5).
A Obstacles to Access
Access to the internet has increased consistently in Argentina over the past decade, though a series of recent price increases have made certain mobile internet plans more expensive. During the coverage period, the government announced plans to promote internet development in municipalities and small and medium-sized cities. However, in 2018 Argentina’s anti-trust regulator created the largest telecommunications player in the country by approving the mega-merger between Telecom Argentina and Grupo Clarín’s cable TV provider Cablevisión.
|Do infrastructural limitations restrict access to the internet or the speed and quality of internet connections?||56|
Argentina’s internet penetration rate is among the highest in Latin America, above 75 percent.1 In the third quarter of 2018, there were 7.4 million fixed internet subscriptions, a 3.2 percent increase compared to the previous year.2
Mobile internet users are also on the rise, counting more than 31.3 million subscriptions by the third quarter of 2018, a 1.6 percent increase compared to 2017. The number of residential mobile internet subscriptions grew by 1.5 percent and reached over 28 million.3 However, figures show a decrease in the national mobile penetration rate between 2017 and 2018, from 141 to 133 subscriptions per 100 inhabitants,4 a fall that was confirmed by private sector reports and attributed to the country’s economic situation.5 Given the high inflation rate (consumer price inflation reached 47 percent in 2018)6 there has also been an increase in prepaid phone plans.7
Measurements of internet speed in Argentina vary, but a range of sources show that the country lags behind global averages and is slower than many other Latin American countries.8 The Argentine Internet Chamber recorded average fixed internet speeds of 13.1MB by mid-2018, but only 43.3 percent of connections exceeded 10MB and 40.7 percent fell between 1MB and 6MB. The capital of Buenos Aires reached speeds of 17.8MB, while at the opposite extreme, provinces such as La Pampa (4MB) and Santa Cruz (5.2MB) have the lowest average speeds in Argentina.9
According to 2018 data from the telecommunications regulator, fiber optic connections represent only 3 percent of the total fixed internet connections in the country. The Argentine telecoms association CABASE is promoting investment in Fiber Optic Home (FTTH) networks, and its members are already implementing FTTH projects in more than 200 localities in the country.10
In October 2018, President Mauricio Macri announced a National Plan of Telecommunications and Connectivity, with a new schedule to deploy 4G in 2,790 municipalities by the end of 2019. The government also announced financing for internet development in small and medium-sized cities, and price cuts for wholesale internet services marketed by the state-owned infrastructure operator ARSAT.11
- 1. “Percentage of Individuals using the Internet”, International Telecommunication Union (ITU), accessed December 23, 2019, https://www.itu.int/en/ITU-D/Statistics/Pages/stat/default.aspx.
- 2. “Internet Access Third Quarter 2018”, Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Censos (INDEC), December 2018, https://www.indec.gob.ar/uploads/informesdeprensa/internet_12_18.pdf. INDEC estimated a population of 44,494,502 by 2018, based on the most recent census in 2010, “Proyecciones nacionales,” [National Projections], INDEC, accessed December 23, 2019, https://www.indec.gob.ar/indec/web/Nivel4-Tema-2-24-84.
- 3. “Internet Access Third Quarter 2018”, Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Censos (INDEC), December 2018, https://www.indec.gob.ar/uploads/informesdeprensa/internet_12_18.pdf.
- 4. ”Penetracion nacional de la telefonia movil (accesos por cada 100 habitantes)” [National penetration of the mobile telephone service (access per 100 inhabitants)], Ente Nacional de Comunicaciones (ENACOM), accessed December 23, 2019, https://datosabiertos.enacom.gob.ar/visualizations/29940/penetracion-na….
- 5. “Motorola Argentina Manager: the cellphone market reached its floor,” Fibra, March 5, 2019, http://revistafibra.info/gerente-de-motorola-argentina-el-mercado-de-ce….
- 6. “Argentine annual inflation hit 27-year high in 2018,” Reuters, January 15, 2019, https://www.reuters.com/article/argentina-inflation/update-1-argentine-….
- 7. “Since the Telecom- Cablevisión merger, Personal grows as never before in the mobile market,” Perfil, March 6, 2019, https://www.perfil.com/noticias/economia/desde-la-fusion-telecom-cablev….
- 8. “Speedtest Global Index,” Speedtest, November 2019, https://www.speedtest.net/global-index/argentina#mobile
- 9. “CABASE Internet Index: 40% of Internet connections in Argentina do not exceed 6 MB,” Camara Argentina de Internet (CABASE), August 30, 2018, https://www.cabase.org.ar/cabase-internet-index-el-40-de-las-conexiones….
- 10. “CABASE Internet Index: 40% of Internet connections in Argentina do not exceed 6 MB,” Camara Argentina de Internet (CABASE), August 30, 2018, https://www.cabase.org.ar/cabase-internet-index-el-40-de-las-conexiones….
- 11. “Macri and Ibarra presented the National Telecommunications and Connectivity Plan,” Argentina Executive Branch, October 9, 2018, https://www.argentina.gob.ar/noticias/macri-e-ibarra-presentaron-el-pla….
|Is access to the internet prohibitively expensive or beyond the reach of certain segments of the population for geographical, social, or other reasons?||23|
Given high inflation rates, internet subscriptions are relatively expensive in Argentina, which may present a barrier especially for those with lower incomes. According to CABASE, broadband prices are a high economic burden for some 11 percent of Argentine households, as the price of broadband exceeds 5 percent of the monthly income.1
Argentina’s main service providers have raised the cost of mobile plans. In March 2019, the largest mobile providers Movistar, Claro, and Personal introduced further price hikes between 15 percent and 18 percent for fixed and mobile prepaid and postpaid services.2 According to the Argentine Internet Observatory (OIA), fixed internet prices can vary greatly: the minimum tariff for 1Mbps was 2.70 pesos ($0.06) and the maximum was 1,000 pesos ($22).3
Geographic and socioeconomic differences in internet penetration persist: fixed internet subscriptions reach over 60 percent of households in provinces such as La Pampa, Buenos Aires, and Córdoba, whereas others such as San Luis, Jujuy and Formosa are closer to 20 percent.4
Government initiatives have sought to promote digital inclusion and education, although investment in such initiatives dropped in 2018 and 2019. 5 The “national digital education plan” provided training in digital literacy and digital skills to some 100,000 people in more than 100 cities by mid-2018.6 A new program called “Aprender Conectados” also promotes coding laboratories and robotics kits for schoolchildren.7
While Law 27,078 protects net neutrality,8 practices such as zero-rating are used by cell phone companies that offer free access to mobile applications like WhatsApp.9 Following the mega-merger between Telecom and Cablevisión,10 zero-rated access offers were available to customers of Personal (mobile phone service) and Cablevisión Flow (over the top service) to watch the final match of the Copa Libertadores.11
- 1. “CABASE Internet Index: 40% of Internet connections in Argentina do not exceed 6 MB,” Camara Argentina de Internet (CABASE), August 30, 2018, https://www.cabase.org.ar/cabase-internet-index-el-40-de-las-conexiones….
- 2. “Cell phone plans will increase between 15% and 18% from March,” INFOBAE, February 26, 2019, https://www.infobae.com/economia/2019/02/26/los-planes-de-telefonia-cel….
- 3. “Why is the Internet expensive and of poor quality in Argentina?” INFOBAE, August 19, 2018, https://www.infobae.com/economia/finanzas-y-negocios/2018/08/19/por-que….
- 4. “State of the Internet in Argentina and the region,” CABASE, accessed December 23, 2019, https://www.cabase.org.ar/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/CABASE-Internet-In….
- 5. “Macri: ‘Let's get started across the country: the first grade computer’,” Chequado, December 7, 2018, https://chequeado.com/ultimas-noticias/macri-pongamos-en-marcha-en-todo….
- 6. “The National Digital Inclusion Plan has already reached 100,000 Argentines,” Argentina Executive Branch, July 16, 2018, https://www.argentina.gob.ar/noticias/el-plan-nacional-de-inclusion-dig…
- 7. “Plan Learn Connected,” InfoLEG, April 27, 2018, http://servicios.infoleg.gob.ar/infolegInternet/anexos/305000-309999/30….
- 8. “Argentina Digital,” InfoLEG, December 16, 2014, http://servicios.infoleg.gob.ar/infolegInternet/anexos/235000-239999/23….
- 9. “Digital Contents What it is and how it impacts the end of neutrality on the Internet,” Clarin, June 11, 2018, https://www.clarin.com/tecnologia/impacta-fin-neutralidad-internet_0_Hy….
- 10. “Since the Telecom- Cablevisión merger, Personal grows as never before in the mobile market,” Perfil, March 6, 2019, https://www.perfil.com/noticias/economia/desde-la-fusion-telecom-cablev….
- 11. “Telecom and Cablevisión find in the zero rating the initial way to exploit their merger,” Telesemana, accessed December 23, 2019, https://www.telesemana.com/blog/2018/11/09/telecom-y-cablevision-encuen….
|Does the government exercise technical or legal control over internet infrastructure for the purposes of restricting connectivity?||66|
The Argentine government does not exercise control over telecommunications infrastructure. There have been no reported instances of the government cutting off internet connectivity during protests or social unrest.
|Are there legal, regulatory, or economic obstacles that restrict the diversity of service providers?||46|
Argentina boasts one of the largest number of providers in the region after Brazil.1 However, the Argentine broadband market remains dominated by a handful of companies: Telefónica, Telecom Argentina, and Cablevisión.2 The mobile sector reflects a similar concentration under market leaders Movistar (Telefónica), Claro (América Móvil) and Personal (Telecom Argentina).3
A mega-merger between Telecom Argentina and cable TV provider Cablevisión was completed by mid-2018,4 resulting in the largest telecommunications and media group in Argentina.5 Mobile service provider Personal (part of Cablevisión-Telecom), has seen an increase in its market share since the merger, boosted by an array of promotions, packages, advertising and the largest fiber-optic network in the country.6 Competitors and experts have raised concerns about this merger’s impact on pluralism, diversity and competition.7
Macri’s government has issued a series of decrees and resolutions to significantly reform the telecommunications and media sector with an emphasis on convergence and competition. However, critics have contended that these moves encourage greater market concentration.8 Decree 267 issued in December 2015 notably released cable providers from obligations in the Broadcasting Law. Decree 1340 issued in December 2016 allowed telecommunications companies to offer cable TV as well as internet and phone services beginning in January 2018.9 In 2018, ENACOM approved rules enabling companies to offer “quadruple play” (covering fixed and mobile telephone service, pay TV and internet).10
Pending legislation referred to as ley corta (“short law”) would allow ICT companies to provide satellite TV services, seen as a way to promote more competition in light of the Cablevisión-Telecom merger.11 Meanwhile, a decree issued in January 2019 authorized ENACOM to manage and auction spectrum held by the state-run company ARSAT. Accordingly, at least 20 percent of the frequencies must go to regional and local operators.12
With a new resolution in 2017, the government has pushed for a more “flexible and objective” ICT licensing regime.13 The process to obtain an ISP license can be done online with a payment fee of 20,000 pesos ($450).14
- 1. “Internet,” ENACOM, accessed December 23, 2019, https://www.enacom.gob.ar/informacion-de-prestadores_p1307
- 2. “What does the Cablevision-Telecom merger mean?” Telam, accessed December 23, 2019, http://www.telam.com.ar/notas/201712/233091-fusion-telecom-cablevision-….
- 3. “Market Overview- Argentina,” Telesemana, accessed December 23, 2019, https://www.telesemana.com/panorama-de-mercado/argentina/.
- 4. “Resolution MM N° 5644/2017,” ENACOM, December 21, 2017, https://www.enacom.gob.ar/multimedia/normativas/2017/res5644%20(diciemb….
- 5. “Since the Telecom - Cablevisión merger, Personal grows as never before in the mobile market,” Perfil, March 6, 2019, https://www.perfil.com/noticias/economia/desde-la-fusion-telecom-cablev…; https://www.letrap.com.ar/nota/2018-3-7-17-12-0-la-letra-chica-que-hace….
- 6. “Since the Telecom- Cablevisión merger, Personal grows as never before in the mobile market,” Perfil, March 6, 2019, https://www.perfil.com/noticias/economia/desde-la-fusion-telecom-cablev….
- 7. “Telefónica challenged Cablevisión and Telecom merger for discriminatory treatment and not ensuring effective competition,” Observacom, July 27, 2018, http://www.observacom.org/telefonica-impugno-fusion-de-cablevision-y-te… ; “Fusión Cablevisión- Telecom: (almost) unique in the World,” el destape, July 15, 2018, https://www.eldestapeweb.com/por-giuliana-fernandez/fusion-cablevision-….
- 8. “Los especialistas opinaron sobre el decreto 267” [Expert opinions on decree 267], Decree13/2016, InfoLEG, January 4, 2016, http://servicios.infoleg.gob.ar/infolegInternet/anexos/255000-259999/25… ; “Restauración,” [Restoration], Martín Becerra (blog), January 14, 2016, https://martinbecerra.wordpress.com/2016/01/14/restauracion/.
- 9. “Decree 1340/16,” Boletin Oficial de la Republica Argentina, December 30, 2016, https://www.boletinoficial.gob.ar/detalleAviso/primera/161155/20170102.
- 10. “Decree 1340/ 2016,” InfoLEG, December 30, 2016, 'http://servicios.infoleg.gob.ar/infolegInternet/anexos/270000-274999/27….
- 11. Roberto H Iglesias, “La competencia en comunicaciones, la cuarta fusión: Cablevisión-Telecom Argentina,” [The competition in communications, the fourth merger: Cablevisión-Telecom Argentina], ConverCom, December 3, 2018 http://convercom.org/2018/12/03/la-competencia-en-comunicaciones-la-cua….
- 12. Andrea Catalano, “Through the DNU, the Government takes control of Arsat's frequencies to provide mobile telephony,” iProfessional, https://www.iprofesional.com/tecnologia/285200-Salio-el-DNU-telco-las-f….
- 13. “Resolution MM N° 697/2017,” InfoLEG, December 28, 2017, http://servicios.infoleg.gob.ar/infolegInternet/anexos/305000-309999/30….
- 14. “Licensing of Information Technology and Communications Services,” ENACOM,, accessed December 23, 2019, https://www.enacom.gob.ar/licencias-de-servicios-de-tecnologias-de-la-i….
|Do national regulatory bodies that oversee service providers and digital technology fail to operate in a free, fair, and independent manner?||24|
The body’s composition has raised some concerns about possible executive influence. ENACOM operates within the Secretariat of Modernization and has a board comprised of four directors chosen by the president and three proposed by Congress. ENACOM’s decisions can be approved by a simple majority and its members may be removed by the president.3 The ICT policymaker is the Secretariat of Modernization, after the government dissolved the Communications Ministry and subsequently downgraded the Ministry of Modernization.4
The executive body NIC.ar regulates and registers all websites with the “.ar” top level domain name. Since 2015, registration of any domain ending in “.ar” requires an annual fee between 110 and 270 pesos ($2 and $6).5
- 1. The decree dissolved the previous regulatory agencies, Federal Authority of Audiovisual Communication Services (AFSCA), the Federal Authority for Information Technologies and Communications (AFTIC). “Decree 1340/16,” Boletin Oficial de la Republica Argentina, December 30, 2016, https://www.boletinoficial.gob.ar/detalleAviso/primera/161155/20170102.
- 2. “El Congreso puso punto final a la ley de medios del kirchnerismo” [Congress puts final stop on Kirchner media law], Infobae, April 6, 2016, https://www.infobae.com/2016/04/06/1802437-el-congreso-puso-punto-final….
- 3. “¿Qué es Enacom?” [What is Enacom?], ENACOM, accessed December 23, 2019, https://www.enacom.gob.ar/que-es-enacom_p33.
- 4. “Organigrama,” ENACOM, accessed December 23, 2019, https://www.enacom.gob.ar/organigrama_p2800.
- 5. “Anexo III Aranceles Aplicables al Proceso de Apertura .ar”, [Annex III Tarrifs Applicable to the Opening Process .ar] NIC Argentina, accessed December 23, 2019, https://nic.ar/ar/reglas-y-politicas#anexo2.
B Limits on Content
Individuals and companies have continued to pursue cases against search engines and online newspapers in order to have content removed. Though Congress debated legislation that would protect intermediaries from content published by third parties unless they fail to comply with a court order, the bill failed to advance. Ahead of general elections in October 2019, the country’s electoral council announced a series of measures to address disinformation and other manipulation techniques online.
|Does the state block or filter, or compel service providers to block or filter, internet content?||56|
Users in Argentina have access to a wide array of online content. Nevertheless, courts have the power to order website blocks, and have done so to protect copyright and limit access to unauthorized gambling sites based on different provincial regulations.1 Law 25.690 also requires ISPs to provide software that can allow users to choose to limit their own access to “specific websites.”2
Courts have made controversial decisions in recent years to try to block the transportation mobile app Uber since its arrival in Buenos Aires, finding it was not in compliance with the legal framework for public transportation services.3 As part of a dispute dating back to 2016, in February 2018 a court in Buenos Aires issued an order to block access to the Uber app and website nationwide, though providers stated that blocking the app was technically difficult to implement.4 In June 2018, the Superior Court of Justice of the City of Buenos Aires overturned the decision, arguing that such a measure disproportionately affects freedom of expression and access to information.5 According to the fact-checking organization Chequeado, the block on Uber’s website was implemented and lifted several times, but the app remained online.6
Courts have also blocked websites to protect copyright in the past.7 In November 2018, a court ordered the website Cuevana2 to be blocked, as well as domain names associated with Cuevana, for violating copyright provisions (Law 11.723, art. 79).8 Created in 2011, the widely popular site had been embroiled in judicial problems for streaming copyright protected materials as well as independent films.
- 1. “¿Llegó la regulación? Bloquean sitios de apuestas en Argentina,” [Has regulation arrived? Block on betting sites in Argentina], Codigo Poker, June 20, 2018, https://www.codigopoker.com/noticias-generales/juego-online-bloqueo-arg….
- 2. “Proveedores de Internet Ley 25.690,” [Internet Providers Law 25.690], InfoLEG, November 28, 2002, http://servicios.infoleg.gob.ar/infolegInternet/anexos/80000-84999/8103….
- 3. “Uber apeló el bloqueo de la Justicia porteña, pero la aplicación sigue funcionando” [Uber appealled the blocking in Buenos Aires tribunals, but the app is still working], Clarin, February 13, 2018, http://clar.in/2stWBRB.
- 4. “El gobierno nacional ordenó el bloqueo de Uber pero las "telcos" cuestionan la medida” [National government ordered blocking of Uber but telcos question the measure], iProfesional, May 30, 2018, https://www.iprofesional.com/tecnologia/269109-internet-tecnolog%C3%AD%…; “El desconocimiento de la justicia argentina sobre Internet: Bloquear la App de Uber,” [Ignorance of Argentine justice on the internet: Block the Uber App], Urgent24, May 31, 2018, https://archivo.urgente24.com/277585-el-desconocimiento-de-la-justicia-….
- 5. “Un fallo a favor de Uber: el Tribunal Superior de Justicia porteño revocó el bloqueo a la aplicación”, [A ruling in favor of Uber: the Superior Court of Justice of Buenos Aires revoked the blockade to the application], Clarin, June 22, 2018, https://www.clarin.com/ciudades/fallo-favor-uber-tribunal-superior-just….
- 6. Marcela Basch, “Cuál es la situación de Uber en la Argentina?,” [What is the situation of Uber in Argentina?], chequeado, October 24, 2018, https://chequeado.com/el-explicador/cual-es-la-situacion-de-uber-en-la-….
- 7. In 2014, a civil court ordered ISPs to block access to IP addresses associated with The Pirate Bay, a website that facilitates peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing using the BitTorrent protocol, on the grounds that The Pirate Bay included links to copyright protected content. However, users in Argentina can currently access. The Pirate Bay through its many mirror sites. “Pese al bloqueo, varios sitios permiten ingresar a the Pirate Bay en la Argentina” [Despite blocking, various sites enable access to the Pirate Bay in Argentina], Infotechnology, July 3, 2014, https://www.infotechnology.com/internet/Pese-al-bloqueo-varios-sitios-p….
- 8. “La Justicia Ordeno el cierre de ‘la nueva Cuevana’”, iProfessional, November 14, 2018, https://www.iprofesional.com/legales/281452-denuncia-ley-medida-cautela….
|Do state or nonstate actors employ legal, administrative, or other means to force publishers, content hosts, or digital platforms to delete content?||24|
Courts continue to consider lawsuits from individuals requesting that search engines and platforms take down certain material. Judges have ordered search engines and social networks to remove content based on the right to honor and privacy, which is guaranteed under Civil Code (art. 52) and allows Argentinian citizens to prevent or repair any damage to their reputation.
Press freedom groups such as Inter American Press Association and Association of Argentine Journalism Entities (ADEPA) have raised concerns about attempts by individuals and companies to seek the removal of content from both search engines and online newspapers.1 Recent cases included news stories related to patients’ complaints against a plastic surgeon’s alleged malpractice, and another regarding the prosecution against a provincial legislator for possession of marijuana, a case that was later dismissed. According to ADEPA, some of the outlets involved offered to include a link to the judicial measures to clarify the outcomes of the cases, but did not remove the original articles.2 In January 2019, a judge in the northern province of Salta ordered two digital outlets, Aerom and Ver Noticias, to both remove and also stop publishing “aggravating, disrespectful and injurious” content about the Mayor of the city of Salta and two collaborators.3
A new data protection bill presented in 2017 establishes an individual’s right to erase personal data when it is no longer necessary for its original purpose, or when there is no public purpose. The draft, which included some exceptions to protect freedom of expression, was submitted to Congress in September 2018.4
- 1. “La SIP alerta sobre censura a medios online,” [SIP alerts online media censorship], El Dia, April 3, 2019, https://www.eldia.com/nota/2019-4-3-1-40-42-la-sip-alerta-sobre-censura….
- 2. “Preocupan medidas judiciales para eliminar contenidos periodísticos,” [They worry about judicial measures to eliminate journalistic contents], ADEPA, November 1, 2018 http://adepa.org.ar/preocupan-medidas-judiciales-para-eliminar-contenid….
- 3. “Preocupa a Adepa un fallo que impone censura a medios digitales en Salta,” [Adepa is concerned about a ruling that imposes censorship on digital media in Salta], ADEPA, February 1, 2019, http://adepa.org.ar/preocupa-a-adepa-un-fallo-que-impone-censura-a-medi….
- 4. “Mensaje 147” [Message 147], Argentina Executive Branch, September 19, 2018, https://www.argentina.gob.ar/sites/default/files/mensaje_ndeg_147-2018_….
|Do restrictions on the internet and digital content lack transparency, proportionality to the stated aims, or an independent appeals process?||34|
ENACOM publishes an online repository of websites that have been blocked and/or re-instated after judicial court orders.1 However, the tool does not specify the rules or criteria behind these decisions. The vast majority of website blocks concern online gambling (over 50 cases in 2018 and first quarter of 2019), which is regulated differently in each province.
Recent court decisions have established takedown criteria to avoid potential abuse of generic injunctions to restrict freedom of expression.2 A landmark ruling by the Argentine Supreme Court in 2014 confirmed that intermediaries should not be liable for third-party content if they did not have knowledge of alleged third-party violations.3 It established that intermediaries must remove unlawful content only if they are notified by a judicial order, thus favoring a judicial takedown regime over a “notice-and-takedown” system. On the other hand, however, the court stated that if the content involves “manifest illegality,” a private notification to the intermediary is sufficient. A recent court ruling by the Supreme Court in September 2017 reaffirmed these standards in the “Gimbutas vs Google” case.4
However, a bill that established that in all cases a judicial order was necessary to remove online content was dropped in late 2018. Arguments against the bill had noted the difficulty for the judiciary to address requests in a timely way and the vagueness of “self-regulation mechanisms” contained in Article 7.5 Another set of arguments was related with copyright and the lack of enforcement and instruments provided in the bill.6
Other legislative initiatives proposed in 2018 raised some concerns for encouraging censorship by online platforms and services. According to one proposal yet to be discussed by legislators entitled “Protection of Freedom of Expression, Privacy and Honor,” intermediaries are not held liable for third party content, as long as the authors of the content are clearly identifiable, and as long as the intermediaries can demonstrate that they were not aware of the illegal nature of the content.7 Another proposal, the draft “Regulation of the Open Internet,” instructs online providers to implement a system for rating audiovisual content according to audience ages, in order to provide mechanisms for parental control.8
- 1. “Bloqueos de sitios web,” [Website blocking], ENACOM, accessed December 23, 2019, https://www.enacom.gob.ar/bloqueo-de-sitios-web_p3286.
- 2. “La Corte Suprema reafirma su doctrina en materia de responsabilidad de los buscadores de internet,” [The Supreme Court reaffirms its doctrine regarding the responsibility of Internet search engines], Centro de Informacion Judicial (CIJ) [Judicial Information Center], September 12, 2017, https://www.cij.gov.ar/nota-27571-La-Corte-Suprema-reafirma-su-doctrina… ; Argentina Federal Court of Appeals, “[Civil Case] 099624/2006/CA001,” Diario Judicial [Judicial Daily], May 3, 2017, http://public.diariojudicial.com/documentos/000/073/824/000073824.pdf.
- 3. Corte Suprema de Justicia de la Nacion [Supreme Court of Argentina], "Rodriguez, Maria Belén c/ Google Inc. s/ daños y perjuicios" [Rodriguez, Maria Belen c/ Google Inc. s/ damages], Telam, October 28, 2014, http://www.telam.com.ar/advf/documentos/2014/10/544fd356a1da8.pdf.
- 4. “La Corte Suprema reafirma su doctrina en materia de responsabilidad de los buscadores de internet,” [The Supreme Court reaffirms its doctrine regarding the responsibility of Internet search engines], Centro de Informacion Judicial (CIJ) [Judicial Information Center], September 12, 2017, https://www.cij.gov.ar/nota-27571-La-Corte-Suprema-reafirma-su-doctrina….
- 5. Carolina Aguerre, “Los intermediarios en Internet, un debate que seguirá pendiente” [Internet intermediaries, a debate that will remain pending], La Nacion [The Nation], November 16, 2018, https://www.lanacion.com.ar/2192063-los-intermediarios-internet-debate-….
- 6. “Ley de intermediarios de internet: Adepa expuso en la Cámara de Diputados” [Internet intermediaries law: Adepa exhibited in the Chamber of Deputies], ADEPA, November 8, 2018, http://adepa.org.ar/ley-de-intermediarios-de-internet-adepa-expuso-en-l….
- 7. “Argentina Proyecto de ley sobre la protección de la libertad de expresión, la privacidad y el honor en internet” [Argentina Bill on the protection of freedom of expression, privacy and honor on the Internet], Centro de Estudios en Libertad de Expresión y Acceso a la Información (CELE) [Center for Studies on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information], 2018, https://observatoriolegislativocele.com/argentina-proyecto-de-ley-sobre….
- 8. “Argentina Proyecto de Ley Regulacion de la Red de Internet Abierta” [Argentina Bill Regulating Open Internet], CELE, 2018, https://observatoriolegislativocele.com/argentina-proyecto-de-ley-regul….
|Do online journalists, commentators, and ordinary users practice self-censorship?||34|
Self-censorship among bloggers and internet users is not widespread in Argentina, although some isolated instances of harassment might elicit self-censorship in particular cases. Aggressive and hateful commentary surrounding sensitive debates online, such as the abortion bill discussed in Congress in August 2018, may have chilling effects on some social media users.1
Some 53 percent of journalists interviewed by the Forum for Argentine Journalism (FOPEA) in 2014 said that there was self-censorship in the workspace. Sensitive topics included the national government, trafficking of persons, and drug trafficking.
- 1. Raul Cruz, “¿La discusión en redes sociales del aborto en Argentina es un avance de lo que podría pasar en México?” [Is the discussion on social media of abortion in Argentina a precursor to what could happen in Mexico?] Plumas Atomicas, August 17, 2018, https://plumasatomicas.com/explicandolanoticia/la-discusion-en-redes-so….
|Are online sources of information controlled or manipulated by the government or other powerful actors to advance a particular political interest?||34|
Research has pointed to organized digital campaigning being conducted with a political motive.1 There have been repeated episodes of seemingly organized digital behavior through bots, trolls and personal accounts, mainly on Twitter.2
Ahead of the general elections in October 2019, Argentina’s election commission announced a series of measures to address disinformation and other manipulation techniques on social media, including requesting candidates to register their social media accounts and official websites, and to share information about audiovisual campaign materials that they plan to share online. The commission would also monitor manipulation efforts during the election campaign period.3 In May 2019, the election commission got political parties and social media companies to adhere to an “ethical digital commitment” seeking to prevent the spread of disinformation during the campaign.4
A report by Amnesty International documented coordinated Twitter activity targeting several journalists and human rights activists between October and November 2017. Although there is no substantial evidence that these “cyber troops” are the work of the government, such campaigns can promote chilling effects for critical journalists and human rights defenders.5 In October 2018, the Inter-American Press Society noted a significant increase in the number of journalists targeted and systematic campaigns of defamation on social networks in Argentina.6
In March 2018, the election commission announced an investigation to determine whether Cambridge Analytica had worked on Macri’s presidential campaign in 2015. The government denied its involvement with the data analytics firm.7 However, a UK parliamentary committee looking at the influence of Cambridge Analytica's parent company SCL Elections in foreign elections cited “confidential evidence” related to an anti-Kirchner campaign in Argentina, including the creation of false social media accounts.8
- 1. Pablo A. Gonzalez, “Jugada preparada’’ [Planned move] El gato y la caja (EGLC), December 2016, https://elgatoylacaja.com.ar/jugada-preparada/.
- 2. Luis Novaresio,“¿Tiene el gobierno de Macri un ejército de trolls para acosar a los que lo critican?” [Does the Macri government have an army of trolls to harass those who criticize it?], Infobae, December 16, 2017, https://www.infobae.com/politica/2017/12/16/tiene-el-gobierno-de-macri-….
- 3. “Trolls, bots y fake news en campaña” [Trolls, bots and fake news in campaign] Pagina 12 [Page 12], October 29, 2018, https://www.pagina12.com.ar/151844-trolls-bots-y-fake-news-en-campana.
- 4. “Acta Compromiso Ético Digital” [Digital Ethical Commitment Act], CNE, May 30, 2019, https://www.electoral.gob.ar/nuevo/paginas/pdf/CompromisoEticoDigital.p….
- 5. “El debate público limitado. Trolling y agresiones a la libre expresión de periodistas y defensores de DDHH en Twitter Argentina” [Limited public debate. Trolling and attacks on the free expression of journalists and defenders of Human Rights in Twiitter Argentina], Amnesty International Argentina, March 2018, https://amnistia.org.ar/wp-content/uploads/delightful-downloads/2018/03….
- 6. “Informe ante la 74a Asamblea General” [Report to the 74th General Assembly], IAPA, October 17, 2018, https://www.sipiapa.org/notas/1212712-argentina.
- 7. “Electoral body to investigate Cambridge Analytica activity in Argentina,” Buenos Aires Times, March 21, 2018, http://www.batimes.com.ar/news/argentina/electoral-body-to-investigate-…; Agustín Carelli, “El Gobierno niega haber utilizado los servicios Cambridge Analytica” [The Government denies having used Cambridge Analytica services], Perfil, March 22, 2018, https://www.perfil.com/noticias/politica/el-gobierno-niega-haber-utiliz….
- 8. Luis Vazquez, “Parlamento Britanico Confirman Que Cambridge Analytica Manipulo Datos Para Macri en 2015” [British Parliament: Confirm that Cambridge Analytica Manipulated Data for Macri in 2015], Polos Productivos Regionales, August 2, 2018, http://www.polosproductivosreg.com.ar/2018/08/02/parlamento-britanico-c….
|Are there economic or regulatory constraints that negatively affect users’ ability to publish content online?||23|
The government has taken some steps to correct the discriminatory allocation of official advertising, which has played a major role in shaping media content both at the federal and local levels.1 While Macri’s government has reduced expenditure on advertising,2 large amounts are still invested in outlets and stations that produce friendly coverage.3 Published figures show that the government-friendly media conglomerate Clarín Group received some 388 million pesos ($8.7 million) from Macri’s government in 2018, and accumulated approximately 20 percent of government advertising investment since Macri took office.4 Moreover, 60 percent of the total investment in official advertisement is concentrated in Buenos Aires.5
In April 2019, the Senate approved a new law regulating the financing of political campaigns.6 It notably mandates that 60 percent of public resources for political party digital advertising must be allocated to digital news sites that generate content, 35 percent to outlets providing national coverage, and 25 percent to provincial outlets focusing on local content. This responds to media associations’ demands to compensate for losses due to the migration of advertising to search engines and social networks.7
In 2019, a bill was sent to Congress for the creation of an “applicable legal regime for the use of digital applications (apps) and websites” establishing a national registry that will control these under regulator ENACOM. The proposal would require apps and websites providing services to register on a national database; an initiative that has raised concerns for its chilling effects on web platforms and innovation more generally. 8 Moreover, there is a lack of clarity around what websites would come under this proposal.
- 1. In June 2016, the Public Communication Secretary issued an administrative resolution regulating the allocation of official advertising according to objective criteria, such as media reach, relevance of the message, geographic zone and plurality of voices. Resolution 247-E/2016, InfoLEG, August 24, 2016, http://servicios.infoleg.gob.ar/infolegInternet/anexos/260000-264999/26…. A 2018 bill also seeks to regulate government expenditure in advertising, including digital platforms. “Argentina Proyecto de la Ley Regulacion de la Publicidad y Comunicacion official” [Argentina proposed Regulation Law of Advertising and Communication Office], CELE, 2018, https://observatoriolegislativocele.com/argentina-proyecto-de-ley-regul….
- 2. Santiago Marino, Agustín Espada, “Macri: ‘Nunca antes se gastó menos plata en pauta publicitaria que en este gobierno’” [Macri: Never before was less money spent on advertising than in this government], chequeado, April 15, 2019, https://chequeado.com/ultimas-noticias/macri-nunca-antes-se-gasto-menos….
- 3. Santiago Marino, Agustín Espada, “Cómo reparte la Ciudad la publicidad official” [How the City distributes official advertising], Letra P, July 30, 2018, https://www.letrap.com.ar/nota/2018-7-30-16-6-0-como-reparte-la-ciudad-….
- 4. “Pauta oficial 2018: el Grupo Clarín fue el principal beneficiado por Cambiemos” [Official guideline 2018: the Clarín Group was the main beneficiary of Cambiemos], Tesis 11, February 4, 2019, http://www.tesis11.org.ar/pauta-oficial-2018-el-grupo-clarin-fue-el-pri….
- 5. Santiago Marino, Agustín Espada “La pauta official en la gestión Cambiemos: algo más que maquillaje” [The official guideline in Cambiemos management: more than makeup] Letra P, January 24, 2018, https://www.letrap.com.ar/nota/2018-1-24-18-15-0-la-pauta-oficial-en-la….
- 6. “Law 26.215” La Politica Online, April 16, 2019: https://es.scribd.com/document/407510856/S3698-18PL-2#download&from_emb…
- 7. “El Senado aprobó la ley de financiamiento electoral con respaldo a los medios digitales” [The Senate passed the electoral financing law with support for digital media], La Politica Online, April 16, 2019, https://www.lapoliticaonline.com/nota/118769-el-senado-aprobo-la-ley-de….
- 8. “Argentina Proyecto de Ley Regimen Legal Aplicable Para La Utilizacion de Aplicaciones Digitales Apps y de Sitios Web” [Argentina Bill applicable to the use of digital applications (apps) and web sites], CELE, accessed December 23, 2019, https://observatoriolegislativocele.com/argentina-proyecto-de-ley-regim….
|Does the online information landscape lack diversity?||34|
Argentina has an open and diverse online media environment, as well as high rates of social media use that allow people to access and produce different content. Argentina ranks globally as the country with the fifth highest proportion of social media users (above 70 percent).1 Its digital ecosystem is populated with initiatives and content that reflect different groups’ rights, including indigenous,2 LGBT3, feminist,4 and religious.5
On the other hand, media ownership in Argentina is highly concentrated, which may in turn affect the diversity of news in the market.6 The Media Ownership Monitor report produced by Reporters Without Borders notes how Macri’s government has made significant changes in the media landscape, marked by deregulation policies, closure of media outlets, greater concentration of large players, and greater job insecurity.7 Of the six main digital media with the largest audience analyzed as part of this research, four belonged to Grupo Clarín.8
- 1. Florencia Lippo and Francisco Llorens,“10 años de redes sociales: cómo impactaron desde su explosión en la Argentina” [10 years of social media: how they have made an impact since their explosion in Argentina], Apertura, July 25, 2018, https://www.apertura.com/negocios/10-anos-de-redes-sociales-como-impact….
- 2. Juan José Basante, “Internet, otro espacio para la organización. Pueblo Mapuche de Neuquén” [Internet, another space for the organization. Mapuche town of Neuquén], Voces en el Fénix [Voices in the Phoenix], accessed December 23, 2019, http://www.vocesenelfenix.com/content/internet-otro-espacio-para-la-org….
- 3. “Sobre Presentes”[About Presentes], Agencia Presentes, accessed December 23, 2019, http://agenciapresentes.org/sobre-presentes/.
- 4. “Manifesto ¿Por qué Periódicas?” [Manifesto, Why Periodicas?], Periodicas, March 6, 2019, https://periodicas.com.ar/2019/03/06/manifiesto-por-que-periodicas/.
- 5. “Home,” Gaceta Cristiana [Christian Gazette], accessed December 23, 2019, https://www.gacetacristiana.com.ar/.
- 6. “Argentina’s media: Big business for a few” Reporters without borders, April 10, 2019, https://rsf.org/en/news/argentinas-media-big-business-few.
- 7. “The Macri Era: the market rules” Media Ownership Monitor Argentina, accessed December 23, 2019, http://argentina.mom-rsf.org/en/findings/media-regulations/.
- 8. “Argentina: Media: Online” Media Ownership Monitor Argentina, accessed December 23, 2019, http://argentina.mom-rsf.org/en/media/online/.
|Do conditions impede users’ ability to mobilize, form communities, and campaign, particularly on political and social issues?||56|
Argentinians continue to use social media as a tool for political mobilization. Digital activism has played a crucial role in rallying protests to advocate for concrete action to reduce violence against women.1 The hashtag #NiUnaMenos (Not One Less) went viral on social media in June 2015 during a march,2 and continued to be one of the most tweeted hashtags in 2018.3 The hashtag #abortolegal (legal abortion) was widely used in 2018, given discussions of a bill that decriminalized abortion in Argentina, but which was rejected by senators in August.
- 1. “Argentine marches condemn domestic violence,” BBC, June 4, 2015, http://bbc.in/1SXuUoa; “Histórica marcha contra la violencia machista” [Historic march against gender violence], Clarín, June 4, 2015, http://clar.in/1KB2azu.
- 2. Guillermo Tomoyose, “Del mundo online a la marcha: el mapa con las repercusiones de #NiUnaMenos en Twitter” [From the online world to the march: the map with the impact of #NiUnaMenos on Twitter], La Nación, June 2015, https://www.lanacion.com.ar/tecnologia/del-mundo-on-line-a-la-marcha-el….
- 3. “Resumen 2017: lo más relevante del año en Twitter” [Summary 2017: the most relevant of the year on Twitter], TodoNoticias, December 5, 2017, https://tn.com.ar/tecno/twittendencias/resumen-2017-lo-mas-relevante-de….
C Violations of User Rights
Argentina does not suffer from high levels of violence against journalists and only one person was prosecuted during the coverage period for their online activity. In May 2019, the United Nations Special Rapporteur noted there were insufficient safeguards for surveillance, recommending that an independent oversight body be established. Cyberattacks against digital media outlets were not frequently reported over the last year, though companies and government entities were targeted.
|Do the constitution or other laws fail to protect rights such as freedom of expression, access to information, and press freedom, including on the internet, and are they enforced by a judiciary that lacks independence?||46|
Freedom of expression is guaranteed by the National Constitution.1 Argentina explicitly established online freedom of expression protections through a presidential decree issued in 1997.2 These were expanded by Congress in 2005 to include “the search, reception and dissemination of ideas and information of all kinds via internet services.”3 Defamatory statements regarding matters of public interest were decriminalized in 2009,4 following the Inter-American Court of Human Rights’ ruling in “Kimel vs. Argentina.”5
Argentina’s judicial system has long been plagued by inefficiencies and accusations of politicization. In 2019, civil rights groups denounced a decision to investigate a federal judge who was looking into allegations of illegal surveillance operations and extortion, with potential links to government allies.6 Meanwhile, press freedom groups raised the alarm when several journalists were named in the judge’s investigation, decrying a judicial attempt to “criminalize interviews and professional secrecy.”7
- 1. “Constitución de la Nación Argentina: Artículo 14“[Argentina Constitution: Article 14], Justia Argentina, accessed December 23, 2019, https://argentina.justia.com/federales/constitucion-de-la-nacion-argent…. The constitution was amended in 1994, and Article 75 (22) now recognizes numerous international human rights treaties with constitutional status and precedence over national laws.
- 2. “Decree 1279/97,” Ministerio de la Hacienda [Argentina Treasury Department], December 1, 1997, http://mepriv.mecon.gov.ar/Normas/1279-97.htm.
- 3. “Law 26.032,” InfoLEG, May 18, 2005, http://servicios.infoleg.gob.ar/infolegInternet/anexos/105000-109999/10….
- 4. “Eduardo Kimel v. Argentina: May 2010 Law 26.551”, Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IAHCR), accessed December 23, 2019, https://iachr.lls.edu/sites/default/files/iachr/Cases/gonzaleze_eduardo….
- 5. “Kimel vs Argentina,” IAHCR, May 2, 2008, https://cpj.org/news/2008/americas/Argentina_sentencia_Kimel.pdf.
- 6. “Organismos de DD. HH. pidieron respaldar la investigación de Ramos Padilla” [Human Rights Organizations asked to support the investigation of Ramos Padilla], Tiempo Argentina, May 2, 2019, https://www.tiempoar.com.ar/nota/organismos-de-dd-hh-pidieron-respaldar…; “Argentina: Inquiry Threatens Judicial Independence,” Human Rights Watch, March 19, 2019, https://www.hrw.org/news/2019/03/19/argentina-inquiry-threatens-judicia….
- 7. Alessandra Monnerat, “Press freedom organizations defend Argentine journalists after allegations of involvement with espionage and extortion,” Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas, March 21, 2019, https://knightcenter.utexas.edu/blog/00-20684-press-freedom-organizatio….
|Are there laws that assign criminal penalties or civil liability for online activities?||24|
Some laws impose criminal and civil liability for online activities. Law 11.723 holds liable those who reproduce content that violates intellectual property by any means, and establishes sanctions ranging from fines to six years in prison. In November 2013, Congress approved a law amending the penal code and establishing penalties of up to four years imprisonment for online contact with a minor carried out “with the purpose of committing a crime against [the minor’s] sexual integrity.”1
A 2008 law on cybercrime amended the Argentine Criminal Code to prohibit distribution and possession of child pornography online, interception of communications and informatics systems, hacking, and electronic fraud. Some of the terms used in the legislation have been criticized as too ambiguous, which could lead to overly broad interpretation.2
Other bills that could be used to punish certain forms of online speech were still pending approval:
- New legislative projects emerged in 2018 that propose to reform the Criminal Code to penalize identity theft online.3 One presented in June 2018 (3868-D-2018) proposes to criminalize digital theft with prison sentences of up to four years if the activity was sustained over a long period of time.4 While it exempts parody accounts, the provision refers to parody accounts that are “clearly identifiable for that purpose.” Similar bills were proposed on the issue in 2018 but were pending discussion.5
- The preliminary draft to reform the Penal Code would criminalize the dissemination of non-consensual intimate images, providing prison sentences of six months to two years, or a fine.6
- 1. “Ley 26.904,” [Law 26.904], InfoLEG, November 13, 2013, http://servicios.infoleg.gob.ar/infolegInternet/anexos/220000-224999/22….
- 2. “Ley 26.388” [Law 26.388] InfoLEG, June 4, 2008, http://servicios.infoleg.gob.ar/infolegInternet/anexos/140000-144999/14….
- 3. Case files 2449/2018; 2630/2018; 2722/2018 from the House of Senators and 3868-D from the House of Representatives.
- 4. “Argentina Proyecto de ley que incorpora al código penal el artículo 139 ter, sobre el delito de suplantación o apoderamiento de identidad digital 2018” [Argentina bill that incorporates the penal code article 139 ter, on the crime of theft or seizure of digital identity], CELE, accessed December 23, 2019, https://observatoriolegislativocele.com/argentina-proyecto-de-ley-que-i….
- 5. “Argentina Proyecto de Ley Suplantación de la Identidad Digital (2722/18)” [Argentina Bill Spoofing Digital Identity (2722/18)], CELE, accessed December 23, 2019, https://observatoriolegislativocele.com/argentina-proyecto-de-ley-supla…; (2630/18) https://observatoriolegislativocele.com/argentina-proyecto-de-ley-supla…; Argentina Proyecto de Ley Usurpación Digital (2449/18) https://observatoriolegislativocele.com/argentina-proyecto-de-ley-usurp….
- 6. “La porno venganza será delito y tendrá una pena de hasta dos años de cárcel” [Revenge porn will be a crime and will have a penalty of up to two years in jail], La Nación, September 27, 2018, https://www.lanacion.com.ar/seguridad/la-porno-venganza-sera-delito-ten….
|Are individuals penalized for online activities?||56|
Internet users do not generally face politically-motivated arrests or prosecutions for online speech. There have been cases of prosecution related with online dissemination of content that is considered illegal, inciting to violence or hatred among citizens. While cases remain rare, in February 2018 media reported on a decision against a user for slandering and insulting another user via social networks. A court in Buenos Aires sanctioned the accused woman with 150 hours of community service.1
- 1. “Fallo inédito: condenaron a una mujer por “calumnias e injurias” en Twitter” [Unpublished ruling: they condemned a woman for “slander and insults” on Twitter], La Voz, February 17, 2018, https://www.lavoz.com.ar/ciudadanos/fallo-inedito-condenaron-una-mujer-….
|Does the government place restrictions on anonymous communication or encryption?||24|
The Argentine government does not impose restrictions on anonymity or encryption for internet users. Bloggers and internet users are not required to register with the government and can post anonymous comments freely in online forums. A 2018 bill regarding online identity proposed to make platforms responsible for the authentication of users’ identity. Accounts would either be marked as “verified” or “unverified.”1
Telecom operators must register users’ identification information before selling them a mobile phones or prepaid SIM cards.2 A resolution signed in October 2016 established a database of personal information, requiring ENACOM to adopt measures to identify all mobile communications users in a national registry.3 Mobile operators must store the information in a safe and auditable manner, and supply information on request to members of the judiciary or public prosecutors. It does not state how long the information must be stored.
In July 2016, the National Directorate for the Registry of Internet Domain Names launched a new regulation for the administration of domain names.4 In order to register, transfer, or cancel a domain, individuals must apply for a “tax password” (Clave Fiscal) by providing the Federal Administration of Public Revenues (AFIP) with fingerprints, a facial photo, and their signature. AFIP assured local media that “it will not have information on the administration of domains and NIC Argentina will not have tax information either. The processes are independent.”5
- 1. “Argentina Proyecto de Ley Identidad en la Red” [Argentina Bill Identity on the Net], CELE, accessed December 26, 2019, https://observatoriolegislativocele.com/argentina-proyecto-de-ley-ident….
- 2. “Ley 25.891” [Law 25.891], InfoLEG, April 28, 2004, http://servicios.infoleg.gob.ar/infolegInternet/anexos/95000-99999/9522….
- 3. Joint Resolution 6 – E/2016, Ministry of Security and Ministry of Communications, October 26, 2016, https://www.boletinoficial.gob.ar/detalleAviso/primera/153684/20161110.
- 4. “Resolución 110/2016” [Resolution 110/2016], National Directorate for the Registry of Internet Domain Names, July 27, 2019, http://servicios.infoleg.gob.ar/infolegInternet/anexos/260000-264999/26….
- 5. “Por qué para registrar un dominio .ar ahora será necesario tener clave fiscal” [Why is a fiscal key now needed to register a .ar domain?], La Nación, June 6, 2016, https://www.lanacion.com.ar/tecnologia/para-registrar-un-dominio-ar-aho….
|Does state surveillance of internet activities infringe on users’ right to privacy?||46|
In general, Argentina has strong privacy standards rooted in the constitution. The National Directorate for Protection of Personal Data (DNPDP) presented a draft bill to reform the Data Protection Law in 2017, following a series of consultations.1 A bill was finally submitted to Congress in September 2018.2 The DNPDP has issued legal requirements and privacy recommendations on a range of issues in the past, including video surveillance footage,3 the development of digital applications,4 and use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or drones.5
In July 2016, an administrative resolution authorized the transfer of personal information of Argentinian citizens contained in the databases of the social security authority (ANSES), such as name, ID number, telephone number, and email address, to the Public Communication Secretary.6 Civil society organizations questioned the use of such data by the agency, which manages communication strategy for official activities.7 The decision was validated by the data protection authority;8 opposition party legislators challenged the resolution but their claim was rejected.9 However, in September 2018 a court, citing the Data Protection Law, ruled that ANSES could not share a woman’s phone number and email address for the Publication Communication Secretary’s database without the woman’s consent.10
Covert or unlawful surveillance does not seem to be widespread, although some sectors in Argentina have attempted to spy on internet users in the past. Government agencies do not systematically collect or access internet users’ metadata directly, but they may request it from service providers with a warrant.11 Interception of private communications requires judicial authorization.12 In May 2019, the UN Special Rapporteur for Privacy conducted a mission to Argentina to assess the country’s privacy standards. His preliminary statement noted that Argentina does not appear to have advanced technical capabilities to carry out surveillance. However, he deemed that levels of oversight by the Bicameral Commission on Intelligence were insufficient and recommended the creation of a new independent oversight body.13
Under Macri’s government, the entity in charge of interceptions of communications was transferred from the Public Ministry to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court established an office of Capturing of Communications (Oficina de Captación de Comunicaciones, OCC), within the Directorate of Judicial Assistance in Complex and Organized Crimes.14 Digital rights groups have raised concerns about the office’s lack of institutional autonomy within a directorate dedicated to criminal investigations.15
Proposed amendments to the Criminal Procedure Code drafted in late 2016 sought to broaden government surveillance powers by introducing “special measures of investigation,” including remote surveillance of computer equipment, and surveillance through image capturing, localization, and monitoring. However, following heavy opposition and concerns raised by digital rights groups, these measures were omitted from the version that was finally approved in December 2018.16
- 1. National Directorate for the Protection of Personal Data, “Aportes sobre la necesidad de una reforma a la Ley de Protección de los Datos Personales “ [Contributions on the need for a reform of the Data Protection Law], December 19, 2016, http://www.jus.gob.ar/datos-personales/comunicados/2016/12/19/aportes-s…; ADC, “Posible reforma de la ley de protección de datos personales: ADC presente en la discusión” [Possible reform of the data protection law: ADC present in the discussion], August 24, 2016, https://adcdigital.org.ar/2016/08/24/posible-reforma-la-ley-proteccion-…; National Directorate for the Protection of Personal Data, “Justicia 2020 reabrió el debate de la iniciativa ‘Reforma a la ley de protección de datos personales’” [Justice 2020 reopened the debate on the initiative ‘Reform of the Data Protection Law’], February 2, 2017, http://www.jus.gob.ar/datos-personales/comunicados/2017/02/02/justicia-….
- 2. “Mensaje 147” [Message 147], Argentina Executive Branch, September 19, 2018, https://www.argentina.gob.ar/sites/default/files/mensaje_ndeg_147-2018_….
- 3. “Disposición 10/2015” [Provision 10/2015], Ministry of Justice and Human Rights, February 24, 2015, http://www.jus.gob.ar/media/2840053/disp_2015_10.pdf.
- 4. “Disposición 18/2015” [Provision 18/2015], Ministry of Justice and Human Rights, April 10, 2015, https://www.argentina.gob.ar/normativa/nacional/disposici%C3%B3n-18-201….
- 5. “Disposición 20/2015” [Provision 20/2015], Ministry of Justice and Human Rights, May 20, 2015, https://www.argentina.gob.ar/normativa/nacional/disposici%C3%B3n-20-201….
- 6. “Resolución 166- E/2016” [Resolution 166- E/2016], InfoLEG, July 21, 2016, http://servicios.infoleg.gob.ar/infolegInternet/anexos/260000-264999/26….
- 7. “El estado y los datos personales” [The state and personal data], ADC, July 2016, https://adcdigital.org.ar/2016/07/28/estado-datos-personales/.
- 8. “Dirección Nacional de Protección de Datos Personales 5/2016” [National Directorate on Personal Data Report], http://www.jus.gob.ar/media/3169033/d2016_05.pdf.
- 9. “Tras un fallo, el Gobierno ya puede usar datos de la ANSES’ [After a ruling, the goverment can use ANSES data], La Nación, November 2016, https://www.lanacion.com.ar/politica/tras-un-fallo-el-gobierno-ya-puede….
- 10. “La Justicia limitó el uso que el Gobierno puede darle a los datos de ciudadanos” [Justice limited the use that the Government can give of citizen data], infobae, September 10, 2018, https://www.infobae.com/politica/2018/09/10/la-justicia-limito-el-uso-q…
- 11. Halabi Ernesto v. PEN Ley 28.873 s/amparo ley 16.986", Supreme Court case
- 12. “Ley 25.520” [Law 25.520], Art. 5, InfoLEG, November 27, 2001, http://servicios.infoleg.gob.ar/infolegInternet/anexos/70000-74999/7049….
- 13. “Statement to the media by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to privacy, on the conclusion of his official visit to Argentina,” OHCHR, May 17, 2019, https://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=24639….
- 14. “Acordada no 30/2016” [Supreme Court Agreement 30/2016], Corte Suprema de Justicia de la Nacion [Supreme Court], September 29, 2016, http://old.csjn.gov.ar/docus/documentos/verdoc.jsp?ID=100091.
- 15. "El cambio que no llega" [The change that doesn't come], ADC, April 2, 2017, https://adcdigital.org.ar/portfolio/cambio-no-llega-sistema-de-intelige….
- 16. “La Ciudad tiene nuevo Código Procesal” [The City has a new Procedural Code], Diario Judicial, October 4, 2018, https://www.diariojudicial.com/nota/81729.
|Are service providers and other technology companies required to aid the government in monitoring the communications of their users?||46|
Argentina’s controversial 2003 data retention legislation was annulled after the Supreme Court found it unconstitutional. The Supreme Court reconfirmed this decision in 2009, stating that the data retention law was a “drastic interference with the private sphere of the individual."1
A 2013 resolution by the Communications Secretariat of the Ministry of Federal Planning introduced data retention requirements for the purpose of assessing the quality of services, requiring providers to store data related to quality indicators for three years. It states that providers should guarantee the telecommunications regulator “free access” to installations, and should provide “all the information that is required in the set manner and timeframe.”2 There has been no evidence to suggest that this provision was implemented in an unlawful or abusive way.
- 1. “Argentina,” Electric Frontier Foundation, accessed December 23, 2019, https://www.eff.org/issues/mandatory-data-retention/argentina.
- 2. “Resolución 5/2013” [Resolution 5/2013], InfoLEG, January 7, 2013, http://servicios.infoleg.gob.ar/infolegInternet/anexos/215000-219999/21….
|Are individuals subject to extralegal intimidation or physical violence by state authorities or any other actor in retribution for their online activities?||45|
Violence in reprisal for digital activities is rare, though journalists are subject to intimidation, including those who work online. Journalists and activists have also faced harassment and smear campaigns on social media. The Argentine Forum of Journalism (FOPEA) reported 51 cases of harassment against journalists in 2018, an improvement from 2017 when it registered 132 cases.1 Nearly one third of these occurred in the city of Buenos Aires, the rest in the provinces. One of these cases targeted a woman journalist.
- 1. “INFORME 2018 I Monitoreo de Libertad de Expresión del Foro de Periodismo Argentino (FOPEA)” [REPORT 2018 I Freedom of Expression Monitoring of the Argentine Journalism Forum (FOPEA)], FOPEA, March 11, 2019, https://www.fopea.org/resultados-informe-2018-i-monitoreo-de-libertad-d….
|Are websites, governmental and private entities, service providers, or individual users subject to widespread hacking and other forms of cyberattack?||23|
While digital media outlets have suffered technical attacks, incidents were not frequently reported during the past year.1
Argentina has seen an increase in reported cybersecurity incidents targeting companies and government entities.2 A day after holding primary elections on August 12, 2019, hackers leaked troves of sensitive data belonging to the government, and momentarily took over the Argentine Naval Prefecture’s Twitter account to disseminate disinformation and links to the leaked information.3 In December 2018, the government confirmed that cyberattacks were directed against the security ministry, national gendarmerie, naval prefecture, and Airport Security Police earlier that year.4
Government agencies have sought to strengthen their cybersecurity capacity. In January 2016, the president created the post of Undersecretary of Technology and Cyber Security under the Ministry of Modernization, in charge of developing the strategy for technological infrastructure, as well as a national cybersecurity agenda.5 In January 2017, the City of Buenos Aires launched its first computer security incident response team, focused on advising and raising citizens’ awareness on cybersecurity issues.6
- 1. “Punto de Inflexión. Impacto, amenazas y sustentabilidad: estudio de emprendedores de medios digitales latinoamericanos” [Inflection Point. Impact, threats and sustainability: study of entrepreneurs of digital media in Latin America], SembraMedia, 2017, http://data.sembramedia.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/Punto-de-Inflexi….
- 2. “Los hackeos aumentaron un 700% en Argentina y el gobierno aceleró el comando de ciberseguridad ,” [Hacks increased by 700% in Argentina and the government accelerated the command of cybersecurity] infobae, Febraury 11, 2018, https://www.infobae.com/politica/2018/02/11/los-hackeos-aumentaron-un-7….
- 3. The incident occurred outside the coverage period of this report. “Hackers Leaked Sensitive Government Data in Argentina—and Nobody Cares,” Lawfare, August 21, 2019, https://www.lawfareblog.com/hackers-leaked-sensitive-government-data-ar…
- 4. Mariana Obarrio, “Las fuerzas de seguridad sufrieron un ciberataque y ahora investigan su origen” [The security forces suffered a cyber attack and now investigate its origin], La Nacion, December 10, 2018, https://www.lanacion.com.ar/politica/las-fuerzas-de-seguridad-sufrieron…
- 5. “Decreto 13/2016” [Decree 13/2016], InfoLEG, January 5, 2016, http://servicios.infoleg.gob.ar/infolegInternet/anexos/255000-259999/25….
- 6. “La Ciudad de Buenos Aires tiene el primer centro de ciberseguridad en América Latina” [The City of Buenos Aires has the first cybersecurity center in Latin America], Telam, January 10, 2017, http://www.telam.com.ar/notas/201701/176186-caba-centro-ciberseguridad….
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