IGF 2023 Town Hall #156 Democratic accountability mechanisms on surveillance in LA


Counter-terrorism and Human Rights
Non-discrimination in the Digital Space
Technology in International Human Rights Law

Break-out Group Discussions - 60 Min


The session will explore the absence of adequate accountability mechanisms over the widespread legal, institutional and technological apparatus of state surveillance in Latin American states. We will focus on the interplay between public and private sectors, notably in the cross-border mobilization of the surveillance apparatus. To this end, facilitators and participants share the various state surveillance and counter-surveillance initiatives in the region and map civil society’s response to the problem. In this way, it will be possible to identify and share successful strategies and collectively understand necessary improvements. First, the panelists will present the scenario of state surveillance practices in Latin America and the responses to such initiatives (20min). After, everyone will be divided into two groups, online and in-person. Through panelists' facilitation, each group will be responsible for answering: 1) How does the new international interplay between the public and private sector make it difficult to control the surveillance apparatus in Latin America?; 2) considering the strategies adopted by civil society in the cases reported, what are the results and how can they be replicated, adapted, or expanded in face of the challenges of the international dynamic of the problem? (25min). The groups will then be broken up and a representative from each will summarize what was discussed (15min). This structure seeks to encourage collaboration and promote qualified contributions. People with diverse perspectives will be fundamental to the success of the dynamic, given the diversity of the region and the peculiarities of the concrete cases.

To facilitate interaction between onsite and online speakers and attendees, several strategies will be implemented. Firstly, we will provide adequate support and clear guidelines to both speakers and audience regarding onsite and online communication. Dedicated technical support personnel will assist with any connectivity or audiovisual issues, ensuring a smooth experience for all attendees. Clear instructions and guidelines should will be shared prior to the session, including information on how to connect, participate, and engage effectively. By providing this information in advance, participants can prepare and familiarize themselves with the necessary tools and processes.
Balanced time allocation will also be crucial to ensure that both onsite and online participants have equal opportunities to contribute. Allocating sufficient time for discussions and presentations, and ensuring that they are well-paced, allows for meaningful contributions from all attendees. Engaging visual presentations and materials, such as videos, infographics, and slides, will be utilized to enhance understanding and retention of information for both onsite and online participants.
By implementing these strategies and utilizing the mentioned tools/platforms, the session will provide an inclusive and engaging experience for both onsite and online participants. This approach promotes active participation, fosters interaction between different groups, and ensures that everyone can contribute to the session's objectives.


Coalização Direitos na Rede - CDR / Brazilian Coalition Rights in Network - CDR
Ana Bárbara, Instituto de Referência em Internet e Sociedade - IRIS, Civil Society, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC); and

Arthur Almeida, AqualtuneLab, Civil Society, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)


Ana Gaitán, Lawyer, Private Sector, México, Female
Marianne Díaz, Access Now, Third Sector, Chile, Female
Pedro Amaral, Federal University of Pernambuco, Academia, Brasil, Male

Onsite Moderator

Felipe Rocha da Silva

Online Moderator

Ana Bárbara


Arthur Almeida


16. Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Targets: This proposal is closely linked to SDG target number 16, which focuses on promoting peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, providing access to justice for all, and building effective, accountable, and inclusive institutions at all levels. More specifically, it addresses the sub-targets related to promoting the rule of law and ensuring responsive, inclusive, participatory, and representative decision-making.
The session outlined in the proposal aims to explore the absence of adequate accountability mechanisms over state surveillance practices in Latin American states. By examining the interplay between the public and private sectors in the cross-border mobilization of surveillance apparatus, the session seeks to shed light on the challenges of controlling and regulating these practices.
Accountability and transparency are critical aspects of SDG 16, as they contribute to the development of accountable institutions and the protection of individuals' rights and freedoms. By identifying the gaps in accountability mechanisms surrounding state surveillance in Latin America, the session aligns with the goal of building effective and inclusive institutions that are responsive to the needs and concerns of the population.
Furthermore, the session emphasizes the role of civil society in responding to state surveillance initiatives. Civil society engagement and participation are essential for promoting transparency, accountability, and the protection of human rights. By mapping civil society's response to the problem and identifying successful strategies, the session supports the target of inclusive and participatory decision-making processes.
The proposed structure of the session, which encourages collaboration, qualified contributions, and diverse perspectives, aligns with the principle of inclusive governance and the need for multi-stakeholder engagement to address complex challenges. By sharing strategies, discussing results, and exploring possibilities for replication, adaptation, and expansion, the session promotes the exchange of knowledge and experiences to collectively understand necessary improvements in addressing the international dynamics of surveillance practices.
In summary, this proposal directly relates to SDG target number 16 by addressing the absence of accountability mechanisms in state surveillance practices, promoting inclusive and participatory decision-making, and emphasizing the role of civil society in responding to these challenges. The session seeks to contribute to the development of peaceful and inclusive societies, the rule of law, and effective, accountable institutions in Latin America and beyond.