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Re: [nettime-lat] Cyber-Rights Activists Log a Win in Spain
Laura Baigorri on Sun, 1 Dec 2002 16:10:02 +0100 (CET)

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Re: [nettime-lat] Cyber-Rights Activists Log a Win in Spain

Y aquí en español

Ciberpunk  http://www.ciberpunk.com/

Laura Baigorri

ricardo dominguez wrote:

> Cyber-Rights Activists Log a Win
> By Michelle Delio
> http://www.wired.com/news/politics/0,1283,56577,00.html
> 02:00 AM Nov. 26, 2002 PT
> A small group of Spanish cyberpunks may have saved their country's Internet
> cafes from being branded as gambling dens.
> The cyberpunks, who gather at the site Ciberpunk, organized protests after
> discovering that that Alberto Ruiz Gallardón, president of the Community of
> Madrid, had proposed a law that would classify Madrid's cybercafes as
> casinos.
> If the law had passed, minors would not have been allowed in cybercafes,
> from which roughly 20 percent of Spain's young Internet users connect to the
> Internet.
> Activists also feared that stricter government oversight and zoning laws for
> casinos would put Internet cafes out of business, which happened in northern
> Spain after a similar law was passed there.
> The cyberpunks organized their protests despite their conviction that
> Gallardón's law would pass.
> Previous movements to protect Spanish Internet users' rights had little
> impact on politicians. In October, the country passed a law requiring all
> commercial websites to register with the government.
> Spain has also been affected by controversial European Union laws that ban
> "hate speech" sites. Activists are closely watching how recent rulings
> limiting deep linking play out across Europe.
> But late last week, Gallardón announced he'd decided against supporting the
> law, an action widely reported in Spanish newspapers as a win for the
> cyberpunks, who credit their victory to Internet-facilitated communications
> and getting non-Net users involved.
> "The Internet is still a strange land to our politicians, who are not used
> to facing such an immediate reaction," said activist David de Ugarte. "An
> unexpected threat for them, that's what we were. And it worked!"
> De Ugarte said he was "shocked and shamed" when he first heard about the
> proposed law.
> "In Spain, the example of Madrid and its regional government is as important
> as New York's or California's would be in the U.S.A.," de Ugarte explained.
> "Closing cybercafes in Madrid could be the first step to do it nationwide.
> The consequences were predictable: No extension of the Net in the next
> generation."
> When David Teira, an assistant professor of philosophy at the Universidad
> Europea de Madrid, heard about Gallardón's proposal he too was "completely
> discouraged."
> Teira said all instructors at the university are engaged in a "daily
> struggle" to introduce their students to the Internet. They worried the law
> would provide a greater barrier to student Net access.
> So Teira posted a call to action on the Ciberpunk site.
> His plan: Use the Internet to rally supporters, who would then go
> door-to-door to explain to non-Net users "how our politicians were closing
> the future for the next generation and even for us," explained de Ugarte,
> who started the Ciberpunk site six years ago.
> The group discovered that Gallardón had dropped the law when a newspaper
> journalist phoned Ciberpunk press officer Natalia Fernadez and asked for a
> comment on the group's success.
> "Natalia collapsed and then apologized to the journalist for not having an
> answer," Teira said. "Winning was not in our plans! So, we only had prepared
> the B plan. No victory speech had been written."
> "After I recovered from the shock, I communicated the news to everybody,"
> Fernandez said. "We had a meeting by Yahoo Messenger to (decide) what to do.
> It was a delicious moment."
> Tiera said the group had already learned that online-only protests aren't
> effective.
> "The cyber-rights movement is not politically important when it expresses
> itself only through the Net," he said. "But it can affect the national
> agenda if we address our messages to ordinary people, and we do it in the
> real world, door by door and face to face."
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