Regarding the trends in the Antipyrawebs Observatory in 2023

Blog Derechos Digitales
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Five years ago, TEDIC officially launched the Antipyrawebs Observatory, a platform built with open-source code that serves as a repository of news and information on digital rights. Over the years, this website has compiled a total of 1,356 articles divided into 13 categories.

Last year, the general elections in April marked significant trends in the observatory’s categories. The electronic voting section was particularly relevant, representing 17.9% of the percentage distribution with 30 articles. Additionally, the regulations category also stood out with 22 articles (13.1%) due to discussions about technology-related bills and the new congress. Other notable categories were personal data and privacy, each with 21 articles (12.4%), mainly related to leaks and cyberattacks on public institutions and political figures. Likewise, the growth of the debate on artificial intelligence was reflected in the innovation section, with 17 articles (10.8%).

Among the other categories are cybersecurity (10%), democracy (5.4%), gender (4.7%), others (4.1%), connectivity (3.5%), freedom of expression (3%), education (2.4%), copyright (1.80%), and public-private partnerships (1.20%).

Electronic Voting

The topic of electronic voting captured the attention of the public in 2023, especially during the months from January to May, as it was an election year and the first general elections with the implementation of electronic machines took place at the end of April following the approval of Law 6318/2019. It is worth noting that this law sparked heated debates about the potential risks of using electronic ballot boxes in the elections.

During the months of January to March, which were preparation months for the electoral process, the idea of implementing fingerprint identification at voting tables arose. However, the Superior Electoral Court (Tribunal Superior de Justicia Electoral in Spanish or TSJE ) decided to backtrack, arguing that this could hinder voter participation and slow down the voting process, according to Minister César Rossel.

During the electoral process in April, a public conversation emerged about the vulnerability of the voting machines. Various political actors and representatives of civil society accused the Superior Electoral Court (TSJE) of not providing the necessary transparency mechanisms to ensure the reliability of the system. Additionally, there were complaints related to the entry of alleged “hackers” from Brazil to manipulate the elections in favor of opposition candidates, and other complaints regarding assisted voting, which further intensified controversies. The lack of trust in the electoral system and a climate of unrest, with accusations of fraud by representatives of political parties, led to protests and citizen mobilizations that continued for three weeks after the elections on April 30, in front of the TSJE headquarters and roadblocks in different parts of the country.

Another significant point regarding the general elections in April was the debate about the time limit for electoral propaganda and the financing of advertisements on social networks. To measure the latter, TEDIC and the Civil Rights Association (Asociación por los Derechos Civiles in Spanish or ADC) of Argentina made available to the public the PubliElectoral platform, a tool that allowed the collection of information regarding electoral advertising on Facebook.

These controversies surrounding electronic voting called into question the democratic system of Paraguay, to the extent that Minister Rossel of the TSJE expressed his concern about it in May, immediately after the elections. Even the PLRA party, which obtained the second largest number of votes, anticipated its request that “voting machines should never be used again” due to the doubts raised in the same month.

Artificial Intelligence

The year 2023 was highlighted as the year of artificial intelligence internationally, especially due to the “boom” of ChatGPT, which reached 100 million active users in January. In Paraguay, this trend became evident, for example, in August, when a controversy arose in which a lawyer alleged that a judge had used the ChatGPT platform to justify his rejection of a legal action within a judicial process, without having solid legal grounds to justify the use of this tool.

The application of artificial intelligence in the field of justice also had another significant point regarding the Supreme Court of Justice of Paraguay’s ongoing search to implement the development of software to streamline its processes, a topic that had already been discussed in 2021 when TEDIC had expressed concerns about implementing such technologies without regulatory frameworks. In May 2023, the collaboration between the Court and USAID was announced, proposing the development of AI-based software to analyze the admissibility of actions in the Constitutional Chamber and draft resolutions. TEDIC hopes that for this opportunity, the recommendations developed previously will be taken into account.

In September, the Ministry of Information and Communication Technologies (Ministerio de Tecnologías de la Información y Comunicación or MITIC) launched a training program in artificial intelligence applied to e-government with the aim of strengthening the capacities of public officials in solutions based on big data and machine learning. In the same vein of continuing to establish an approach to Artificial Intelligence from the State, in the same month, representatives of the Chamber of Deputies participated in a meeting with other parliamentarians from the region during the Second World Summit of the Committees of the Future, where the debate around AI was the central topic.

On the other hand, in October, a public hearing was held in the Senate, discussing current and future challenges in the use and implementation of artificial intelligence in different areas. Various actors from civil society and other state bodies participated in this hearing. Similarly, in November, the presentation of the “Senatur Relational” platform by the National Tourism Secretariat took place. This platform, backed by OpenAI’s GPT-4, will offer tourists from around the world the possibility to make inquiries about tourist information in multiple languages via WhatsApp.

These individual efforts to implement artificial intelligence in various state bodies demonstrate the need to develop a joint and multisectoral plan that allows us to fully harness the potential of artificial intelligence while ensuring the safety of citizens.

Digital Violence

In September, the Paraguayan Journalists Union expressed solidarity with journalist Mabel Portillo from GuairáPress, mentioning that she faced persecution and legal harassment by the mayor of Yataity, Gloria Duarte, in the department of Guairá. This is not the first time the mayor has attempted to censor and obstruct the work of the journalist. In February, she filed a legal accusation for gender-based violence, resulting in a sentence prohibiting the journalist from approaching the complainant’s residence and publishing about her on social media. Regarding this, lawyer Ezequiel Santagada considers this sentence concerning and believes it does not comply with the law on protection against violence towards women, raising alarms about the abuse of laws protecting women seeking censorship.

In another relevant issue, in November, the Court of Appeals confirmed the conviction of Juan Vera, president of Asucop, for infringing the privacy of journalist Mercedes Barriocanal. The 180-day fine was upheld for disseminating Barriocanal’s phone number on social media and promoting harassment due to her positions regarding an educational project. Judge Mesalina Fernández emphasized that disclosing a phone number without consent constitutes a crime, as it is personal and private information.


In April, the National Directorate of Intellectual Property of Paraguay (Dirección Nacional de Propiedad Intelectual de Paraguay or Dinapi) coordinated an international agreement with the Library and Central Archive of the National Congress and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), in collaboration with the Accessible Books Consortium (ABC). This agreement will allow access to over 700,000 audiobooks for blind and visually impaired individuals. In addition to text access, the agreement also includes capacity building and technical assistance for the production and distribution of books in accessible formats.

On another front, in June, the Ministry of Justice of Paraguay requested assistance from the Council of Ministers of Ibero-America (COMJIB) to implement the electronic prison record. The electronic record aims to replace physical documents with a digital system, which seeks to streamline procedures and improve communication between entities within the prison system.

In July, the Identification Department of the National Police began issuing ID cards and passports with chips. The head of the institution, Commissioner José Félix Vega, confirmed that the introduction of this technology does not entail additional costs for citizens. The chips contain biometric data of the bearer and allow for more effective confirmation of the person’s identity and whether they correspond to the individuals presenting them. Additionally, individuals who wish to do so can certify their signature in the procedures.

Then, in October, it was announced that the Itaipu Technological Park (Parque Tecnológico Itaipu or PTI) has developed the BOLDO solution, which offers a platform with a mobile application for citizens and a website for doctors, allowing them to access information from different health systems that interoperate in the BOLDO Ecosystem. Furthermore, a strategic alliance has been established with the Tesãi Foundation for the implementation of a pilot plan at the Tesãi’i healthcare center, yielding satisfactory preliminary results.

Finally, in October, the official availability of Starlink satellite internet service in Paraguay was announced, which received the license from CONATEL and was officially announced in December 2023 through its official account on X. This new form of internet access raises questions about its implementation and operation.

Legislative Bills

During 2023, 22 articles related to legislative bills discussed in Paraguay concerning technology and digital rights were collected.

In August, a bill was introduced in Paraguay aimed at regulating digital service platforms such as Bolt, Uber, MUV, and PedidosYa. The bill proposes the creation of a Registry of Workers of Digital Service Platforms, under the Ministry of Labor, to register individuals working on these platforms. Additionally, it proposes establishing a hybrid legal nature combining employment and independence relationships. Concerns have been expressed by the National Competition Commission regarding the clarity of the regulations, and TEDIC has published a series of recommendations on the bill.

Cyberbullying Law in Paraguay

In another legislative initiative, Senator Zenaida Delgado presented a bill in October to prevent and penalize universal cyberbullying in Paraguay. This bill addresses various forms of cyberbullying, such as grooming, sextortion, and cyber gender-based violence. From TEDIC’s perspective, this bill represents a significant step towards protecting digital rights in the country, although problematic aspects are also noted, such as the lack of clear definitions, the risk of violating fundamental rights such as freedom of expression, and a multi-stakeholder approach.

Electronic Health Record

Regarding health matters, the debate centered around the bill to implement the electronic health record in Paraguay, which was introduced in June 2020 to improve medical service delivery. However, TEDIC emphasized the importance of not exposing people’s data or violating their privacy, regardless of legislators’ good intentions in incorporating provisions into their bills. Ultimately, this bill was rejected.

Prevention, Control, and Eradication of Violence in Sports

Another bill presented and discussed is the “Prevention, Control, and Eradication of Violence in Sports,” during June. It proposes the creation of the National Spectator Registry ( Registro Nacional de Espectadores or RENAES). This registry aims to collect information on incidents of violence at sports events and will work in conjunction with the National Police database and the Civil Registry to identify individuals involved in violent acts. It requires the installation of security cameras in sports venues and their surroundings, as well as the collection of biometric data from adults attending events with an audience of more than 2,500 people. Finally, the discussion on this bill was postponed on December 20, 2023, in the Senate, which was the last movement it had in its parliamentary process.”

Digital Validity of Mandatory Documents Law

Finally, during September, the “Digital Validity of Mandatory Documents Law” was enacted, aiming to validate the digital format of documents such as identity cards, vehicle registration cards, driver’s licenses, and vehicle permits. However, critics like Eduardo Carrillo, TEDIC’s co-director, point out the lack of consideration for important aspects such as personal data protection and the trend towards mandatory carrying of identification without necessarily being involved in suspicious activities.

Personal Data Protection Bill

In February, the Constitutional Affairs Committee of the Chamber of Deputies reported that it was studying the “Personal Data Protection in Paraguay Bill.” The objective of this bill is to fill the existing legal gap in this matter, establishing clear rules for those involved and creating an agency responsible for supervising and implementing these provisions. The bill consists of 88 articles addressing topics such as limitations on the right to protection, data accuracy, loyalty principles, transparency, responsibility, and confidentiality. This initiative has been proposed by the Paraguay Personal Data Coalition, which includes TEDIC.

Throughout the year, the bill was included four times on the agenda of deputies’ sessions, scheduled for June 14, 21, and 28, November 22, and December 6. However, it was not fully discussed on any of these dates. Despite this, it is noteworthy the interest shown by deputies in carrying out this important discussion.

Unfortunately, the bill was not approved in 2023. Nevertheless, the need to address this issue is evident, and it is hoped that progress can be made in its approval in future sessions.

Violations and Leaks

During August, Paraguay witnessed a series of breaches of official state accounts and cybersecurity failures in public institutions on several occasions. An example of this was the hacking of the Facebook account of the Social Security Institute (Instituto de Prevención Social or IPS), where unrelated photos were posted. Although consideration was given to shutting down the account, it was eventually recovered by the MITIC team three months later. Additionally, a suspected cyberattack on the National Police and other public institutions was discovered, resulting in the leakage of over 500,000 internal documents and images of the National Police, including data from the Electoral System. This incident raised concerns about information security and the need for preventive measures. On the other hand, it is worth noting that also during August, former President Mario Abdo Benítez issued a decree warning of possible cyberattacks on public institutions, but this information had not been shared with the new government immediately. These events highlight the importance of strengthening cybersecurity in the state sphere and taking actions to protect sensitive information from potential breaches.


The year 2023 was significant in terms of technology implementation and the drafting of regulations and discussions in the Paraguayan Legislative Power. TEDIC’s antipyrawebs observatory has compiled a wide range of articles addressing topics such as electronic voting, artificial intelligence, innovations, legislative projects, digital violence, and security breaches. These topics reflect the technological advancements and challenges facing the country in terms of regulation and personal data protection.

As we head towards 2024, the topics that will be subject to debate are clearly outlined. For example, Starlink’s internet service seeks to position itself in the Paraguayan market, artificial intelligence continues its exponential growth concerning its utilities and threats it may pose. Additionally, the law on digital violence against women in Paraguay will continue to be a relevant topic of discussion; this law provides an opportunity to improve and modify Law 5777/16, but it is crucial to consider an intersectional perspective that includes the representation of the most vulnerable groups of women.

Concluding this article, we believe it is relevant to reiterate that it is imperative for Paraguay to develop robust regulations regarding personal data protection, prevention of digital violence, and cybersecurity to address current and future concerns. A comprehensive and proactive approach in these areas will foster technological growth while protecting citizens’ privacy and building a safe and trustworthy digital environment.