By Gabriela Hadid

Building a fairer data society in Latin America

Why we Invested: Iniciativa por los Derechos Digitales Latinoamericana (Indela)

As the internet permeates all our daily activities, we face increasing challenges from disinformation on social networks to the deployment of invasive technologies for government surveillance and the collection of personal data by online platforms. This is especially true in Latin America, where institutional fragilities are reflected in how people use the internet and adopt new technologies. In many parts of the region, the effects of authoritarian regimes still persist; some countries have mandates limiting the freedom of expression and the right to protest and others have used national security and ‘tough on crime’ narratives as pretexts to advance regressive regulatory proposals in areas such as defamation, privacy, and copyright law.

When we first began investing in data-related issues as the Governance & Citizen Engagement initiative at Omidyar Network, our focus was on open data before expanding to our remit to data governance as we became increasingly concerned about how data was being used. As laid out in Luminate’s recently released strategic plan for 2018-2022, we’re now focused on Data & Digital Rights and ensuring that the rights of people and communities are upheld in the design and use of data and technology. Through a combination of tools such as funding for NGOs and universities, direct advocacy, litigation, and proofs of concept, we’re committed to helping to build stronger data and digital infrastructure, giving people a voice in the design of technology, and holding accountable those who control it.

More than ever, it’s critical that we stand by the courageous people working to protect digital rights and strengthen communities, and that’s why we’re excited to be a part of the Initiative for Digital Rights in Latin America (Indela), which will support the development of organisations working on digital rights in Latin America.

Luminate, Avina Foundation, and the Open Society Foundations, with additional support from Ford Foundation and International Development Research Centre (IDRC), are launching Indela to fund innovative projects focused on freedom of expression, privacy, and access to knowledge that aim to advance digital rights through policy advocacy, public campaigns, applied research, and litigation. The initiative will support organisations based in the region both financially with an initial $1.5 million fund and with advisory services, seeking to make a lasting contribution to the field. 

By adapting funding strategies and priorities to local contexts, Indela endeavors to support work that will transform how digital rights are understood and advanced across Latin America towards a shared vision: building just and fair societies. 

Visit Indela’s website and follow them on Twitter and Facebook to learn more about the initiative and the application process.