Preventing technology misuse in Mexico — interview with IIPP MPA student Kassim Vera


IIPP MPA student Kassim Vera is currently working alongside Mexican Senator Ruth Lopez to improve digital services in Mexico, including creating a safer and more responsive environment for addressing critical social issues.

What is the focus of your current work?

I was recently appointed as a Policy Advisor in the Mexican Senate, specifically with Movimiento Ciudadano, a prominent political force. I have the privilege of working alongside Senator Ruth López, a representative of Jalisco, my home state. Senator López is the President of the newly established Digital Rights Commission and contributes significantly to other key areas like Culture, Education, and Mexico-Latin America Relations. During these initial months, my focus has been on projects related to Artificial Intelligence.

One of our key initiatives involves scrutinizing another party's new AI Regulation proposal. Our goal is to ensure the regulation aligns with Mexico’s current realities and integrates seamlessly with the roles of existing institutions.

Another critical project is advocating for legislation that recognizes AI-generated images intended to harm individuals, particularly women, as a form of digital violence. This involves a thorough review of current laws, crafting precise definitions, and envisaging various scenarios within a unified legislative framework.

In addition, I assist Senator Ruth in formulating responses to emerging challenges, such as the dissolution of the Mexican State News Agency.

Why is this project needed?

The need for this work became clear after a student in Mexico used AI to create inappropriate images of women, including classmates. In Mexico, where violence against women is a pressing problem, it’s critical to have laws that stop the harmful use of new technologies. This is a really active conversation in the country, where digital violence affects significantly more women and the LGBTQ+ community.

Our approach is to define technologies and terms, like deep fakes, clearly in the law. For this, following previous examples in Mexico, such as Ley Olimpia, a protocol to tackle sharing sexual images without consent in different digital platforms.

Senator Ruth and Movimiento Ciudadano have tackled similar issues before. For example, Senator Ruth pushed for a law to ban sharing images from femicide crime scenes after a case where such images were shared by the police to the media. Now, any person, especially public servants, who filters or shares such images could be sanctioned. Again, our approach is similar to those proven successful in that context before, focusing on clear definitions and aiming to protect specific groups from technology misuse.

What have you taken with you from your time at IIPP?

My time at IIPP has been pivotal in shaping my approach to my new role. The diversity in my cohort has given me a global outlook, especially on AI regulation. Discussions with peers from different countries have provided practical insights and a broader perspective on AI laws. This international understanding is crucial for my work in the Mexican Senate.

The IIPP’s rich curriculum, covering a wide range of contemporary topics, has broadened my research skills. It’s helped me consider global trends and local specifics in my work.

For example, the ‘Politics, Problems, and Systems Change’ module by Associate Professor Kate Roll has been key in understanding policy-making dynamics. It highlighted the importance of timely action and recognizing different stakeholder perspectives. The ‘Making Decisions’ module by Associate Professor David Eaves taught me to communicate complex issues effectively, which is vital in the fast-paced Senate environment.

These experiences have equipped me with a unique blend of global insights and practical communication skills, enhancing my contribution to policy discussions and decision-making in my current role.

What impact do you aim to achieve within your community?

As a Policy Advisor, my impact in the initial two months is gradually unfolding. Our primary goal is to safeguard against the misuse of technology while also fostering its positive development for creative and commercial purposes.

My work is currently centred around two main areas. First is helping to address emerging and pressing issues in Mexico. The country is grappling with serious challenges like violence and hate speech, and these issues demand urgent attention. This is particularly true for the trans community, which is facing significant struggles at the moment. With Senator Ruth, I am dedicated to contributing informed insights and supporting effective policy decisions to address these urgent matters in any of her legislative work.

Secondly, I am committed to improving digital services in Mexico. This goes beyond basic administrative functions like tax payments or license processing but also the development of secure and efficient digital platforms for reporting violence. By enhancing these services, we can provide a safer and more responsive environment for addressing critical social issues.

Read here for more information about the Master of Public Administration (MPA) in Innovation, Public Policy and Public Value.



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