Mexico could censor Twitter

A politician in Mexico is proposing a law that could regulate social media sites like Twitter.

Nazario Norberto Sánchez said that social networks like Twitter help narcotraffickers to drunk drivers, according to an article in the Global Post published this week.

"We have to regulate these websites to make sure there aren't people breaking the law, making death threats or committing crimes via electronic means," Norberto told the Global Post.

I also found a Spanish-language story about this topic by Notimex, a Mexican news agency, that was published in Milenio newspaper Jan. 8.

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People in Mexico City have used Twitter to avoid DUI checkpoints. In fact, there is a Twitter feed Anti Alcoholimetro that has listed the check points in that metropolis of 20 million, and it has more than 6,000 followers. But now that site has protected Tweets so I couldn't view them.

There also are worries that drug traffickers use Twitter and other social media like Facebook or MySpace to locate targets.

The law also would create a "cybernetic police force" to monitor how criminals are using social media.

The law is modeled on a controversial bill in Spain that would allow judges to shut down Web sites that help people violate copyright and break laws.

Norberto is a member of the left-leaning political party called the PRD, Partido de la Revolución Democrática, or Party of the Democratic Revolution.

It's ironic that such an initiative is coming from the left wing but I understand there are serious worries about crime and drug trafficking in Mexico. And people using Twitter to tip off drunk drivers is seriously sick and irresponsible.

Is it illegal? That I don't know.

But the idea of censoring social networks doesn't make sense. People could just as easily call or text each other to tell their friends about DUI checkpoints. But they're not talking about banning cell phones.

It seems there are more serious things that politicians could do in Mexico to tackle crime.

There's plenty of corruption even within law enforcement. They'd be better off battling that instead of trying to censor social media.

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