New Internet Regulations for Cuba Questioned by Users

Social media users believe that the Ministry of Communications’ statement, via tweet, is not enough.

The series of regulations announced on July 4th define and regulate Cuba’s IT industry developing programs and apps, for the first time ever.  Photo: Jorge Luis Banos IPS

IPS Cuba

HAVANA TIMES – Dozens of Internet users are urging Cuban authorities to change a subsection in Decree-Law 370/2019, which outlines the national computerization policy, after statements made by national media as a result of the legal challenges it presents.

On July 5th, the Ministry of Communications made an announcement via Tweet about subsection “F” in Article 68 of this Decree-Law, regarding violations linked to Information and Communications Technology (ICT).

It specified that this subsection refers to national platforms and apps that are being offered on the Internet and used by Cuban citizens, it does NOT refer to blogs, personal or news websites.”

However, subsection “F” stipulates that it is a violation to “host a site on servers located in a foreign country, other than servers that mirror or replicate the main site servers located in national territory.”

Twitter and other social media users almost immediately came back at them with comments, after the Decree-Law was disseminated publicly in the Cuban Republic’s Official Gazette.

Party-line newspaper Granma promised that “it would continue to build on these regulations, given how important this computerization process is for the country,” without offering any further details about the series of regulations.

Forum users such as Juan agree that “the clarification is fine, but it isn’t contemplated within the Decree-Law. Afterwards, people will be able to interpret it as they please. The Law needs to be more explicit.”

On Twitter, journalist and director of alternative news website Periodismo de Barrio, Elaine Diaz stressed that “we are waiting for a clear amendment to these articles.”

Lennier Lopez added that “if it isn’t clarified in the Law, it will be applied to both legal and natural persons, indifferently.”

While one user identified as “Guajiro Universitario” tweeted: “Decree-Law 370 doesn’t make any exceptions. If there will be complimentary legislation to make sure everything is clear, then it needs to be officially communicated. The way they’ve written it up, it can be purposefully misinterpreted. They need to publish the law along with its complimentary legislation so as to avoid confusion.”

Some users believe that even though decree-laws don’t have the same weight as laws, they still need to be consulted or revised and approved by representatives from the National Assembly of People’s Power.  Photo: Jorge Luis Banos IPS

Other Internet users went further, and some of them like Yudivian Almeida, the admin on independent website “Postdata.club”, questioned the pertinence of national platforms and apps online that citizens use having to be hosted on servers in Cuba.

One user going by the name “Papucho”, commented on Cubadebate and brought into question “how much hosting costs in Cuba and abroad, where companies even offer some months for free.”

And he added: “ETECSA (Cuba’s state telecommunications company) has to reduce their prices if they really want to compete with the real world.”

Gabriel A. Lopez believes that given “the impossibility of integration/interaction with third-party systems, for example, updates, logins on social media, email functions, etc. (…) they would be forcing a technological setback on many websites developed by natural persons (…) They need to rethink this.”

Finally, Yordan suggested “submitting the Decree-Law to consultation or revision and approval by the National Assembly (of People’s Power, unicameral parliament), because even though it doesn’t have the same force as a law, these legal regulations affect every Cuban.”

The series of regulations announced on July 4th define and regulate Cuba’s IT industry developing programs and apps, for the first time ever, ever since a computerization policy was passed in 2017.

These measures stipulate the way natural and legal persons can access and participate in this computerization process; while it hopes to replace imports and establish a new source of exportable goods, in times of economic crisis.

Established violations include the “dissemination of information, via public data sharing networks, which goes against social interest, morale and people’s decency and integrity, something which has sparked concern and controversy as Internet users believe this to be ambiguous and leaves a wide margin for discretional application.



One thought on “New Internet Regulations for Cuba Questioned by Users

  • The last paragraph is a good summary. Violations will be rather like Monopoly……”Go to jail, go directly to jail, do not pass GO and certainly you won’t receive 200 pesos.”

    Reply

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