Soros foundation sought to influence negotiations for Internet regulation

by WorldTribune Staff, September 4, 2016

An organization funded by George Soros, a proponent of net neutrality, attempted to buy its way into negotiations that would impact Internet regulation, a leaked document shows.

With net regulation as its main concern, the leftist billionaire’s Open Society Foundations funneled $66,290 to a nonprofit with the goal of influencing the positions of Latin American governments in negotiating the Transpacific Partnership Agreement (TTP).

George Soros
George Soros

The leaked document reveals the Soros organization under the project title “Promotion of Human Rights Standards in Latin American Internet Regulation” provided the funds in 2013 to ONG Derechos Digitales, a nonprofit based in Chile focused on public interest and technology.

In the “Objectives and Goals” section, the memo, referring to the TTP as the TTPA, states:

“Advocate for the protection of human rights standards in the Transpacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA): provide technical assistance to negotiators of Latin American countries (Chile, Peru, and Mexico) of the TPPA; raise awareness about the TPPA in the Spanish-speaking countries.

The listed indicators that would prove the success of the grant includes ‘protection of human rights standards in the TPPA; increased capacity of civil society in Latin America to influence internet regulation; a stronger network and better collaboration of civil society working on digital rights in Latin America.’ ”

The leaked memo makes clear the Open Society Foundations sought to “influence legislation” in Latin American countries to ensure “compliance with the Inter-American Convention on Human Rights.”

The memo states:

“Over the past few years, the governments in Latin America have started to regulate the online environment, mainly driven by the need to implement trade agreements. That said, this “regulation trend” is set to further accelerate in the coming years as the internet penetration rate is predicted to jump over 50%. This presents a good opportunity for civil society to help set standards and influence legislation in compliance with the Inter-American Convention on Human Rights.”

According to a Breitbart report, the Inter-American Convention on Human Rights is pushing for a system of “universal human rights and rules, and it tasks governments with altering their own domestic laws to align with those of the Convention, including rules pertaining to property rights and the judicial system.” Twenty-three Central and South American countries are currently members.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters Obama would push for the TPP to be passed before he leaves office in January. Earnest said the president would make the case for the treaty during a speech in Laos on Sept. 6.

“The president is going to make a strong case that we have made progress and there is a path for us to get this done before the president leaves office,” Earnest said.

Soros has expressed “tepid” support for the TPP. Writing last year in the New York Review of Books, the billionaire called the TPP “an excellent opportunity for a two-pronged strategy” to forge a partnership with China if the treaty could be amended not to exclude China.  Soros opposed Obama’s request to fast-track the TPP past Congress, instead advocating for the treaty to be altered to help forge a strategic partnership with China.