Bolivia: From the Bottom Up: Using Grassroots approaches to push for data protection laws and privacy-respecting policies

Produced by Internet Bolivia.Org. In 2018, thousands of Bolivians found themselves in databases identified as members of political parties they had never registered for- in the midst of political tension, sensitivity and polarization. These events forced the conversation around data protections and the need for better data governance around the information people share (and overshare) online and also offline. Experiences like this have catalyzed interest in these topics and helped Internet Bolivia.Org push for a more inclusive discussion around privacy and the need for a comprehensive data protection law. This means that advocacy efforts around data protection and privacy are not only taking place in the traditional circles of power in the capital, but also through a more grassroots and local “bottom up” approach. This strategy takes advantage of Bolivia’s unique decentralized system, in which decentralized and autonomous territorial entities- from the departmental, regional, municipal and indigenous- can make their own rules and in some cases, even have their own justice systems. In this way, activists can work at these levels to generate policy proposals and norms around data protection, access and privacy that could potentially build interest and “trickle up” to the national level.


Research and Interviews: Esther Mamani, Laura Vidal
Concept and script: Laura Vidal & Esther Mamani
Interviewees: Esther Mamani, Diandra Céspedes and Cristian León.
With the voices of Dana Floberg and Charles Antoine
Editing & Mixing: Laura Vidal & Ergi Shkëlzeni
Visual Design: Ura Design
Research and Production: Laura Schwartz-Henderson, Dana Floberg, and Laura Vidal
Executive Producers: Laura Schwartz-Henderson and Laura Vidal
Sponsored by Internews and Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung Washington DC