Here's the deal - the Declaration of Internet Freedom

Ah, it's that time of year again; July 4th, when Americans celebrate the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the creation of the United States and the beginnings of a democratic reawakening that would, in time, take hold of the rest of the world. And yet, some two hundred and thirty-something years later, we're trying to get people to sign a document that expresses a lot of the same ideas, except this time they stretch across way more than one nation.

“What in the hell are you people ranting about,” you ask yourself? The Declaration of Internet Freedom, of course! But what, exactly, is this Declaration of Internet Freedom? It's a document that lays down a few basic rights for users of the internet, an open declaration to the collective powers of the world, and hopefully, one that'll get so many signatures that it can't be ignored.

Today, the internet (and all of the things we take for granted, really) is facing more threats than ever before, and in the wake of attacks like SOPA, CISPA and ACTA, it seems like high time to lay down the law on its enemies. With that in mind, the authors of the Declaration (the tireless freedom fighters over at freepress.net) have laid down a few basic principles that we can hopefully all agree on:

  • Expression: Don't censor the Internet.

  • Access: Promote universal access to fast and affordable networks.

  • Openness: Keep the Internet an open network where everyone is free to connect, communicate, write, read, watch, speak, listen, learn, create and innovate.

  • Innovation: Protect the freedom to innovate and create without permission. Don’t block new technologies, and don’t punish innovators for their users' actions.

  • Privacy: Protect privacy and defend everyone’s ability to control how their data and devices are used.

And just in case you can't agree on that stuff, or if you don't think it's strong enough, they're inviting everyone to make their own contributions through debate, discussion, translation, and even rewriting. Actually, that's part of the idea - by essentially throwing the Declaration out there for everyone to make their own, they're highlighting the fact that the internet is the only place where you can do that, as freepress points out in their press release.

The Declaration's already gotten some influential support; besides countless signatures from folks like you and me (last we checked, it was at 17244), the ACLU, EFF, Mozilla, reddit, and Reporters Without Borders have also thrown in their support. And that's not even counting celebrities (including the internet kind) like Neil Gaiman, Cheezburger CEO Ben Huh, and BoingBoing's Cory Doctorow. And we're putting our money where our mouth is (well, not literally, but you know...) and signing the Declaration for ourselves.

Anyways, we're just gonna hope that you've already stopped reading by now and went to sign the Declaration for yourself. And just in case you haven't, we're going to plug it one more time: you can sign it right here. Oh, and by the way, if you happen to be involved in any sort of internet or political organization, why not try and see if you can get some of the higher-ups to throw their lot in, too?

Via: CNet
Source: Declaration of Internet Freedom | Free Press

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"Access: Promote universal access to fast and affordable networks."

this seems scary.. as long as they are just 'promoting' then thats fine, but the last thing i want to do is put internet access in the hands of any govt.. also i dont want to pay for you to have internet access..

otherwise i agree with all of the other bullets..

"Internet freedom" seems to be taking the form of an absolute sort of freedom that we've all been able to agree is not available to us in offline life. If we want to maintain a viable free society, freedom can't mean "I get to do whatever I want". This seems obvious, but the difficult question is what does freedom actually mean.

With the lines being blurred between speech and property (is blocking a youtube video of a copyrighted song censorship?) and between content creator and content consumer (is the owner of a social network responsible for the content that users post?), the discussion needs nuance and not ultimatums. I applaud the idea of having an open forum, but I feel like the title of the whole project (Declaration) kind of poisons the well before anything starts.

The internet is currently the wild west and, while we may enjoy our open range, bar fights, and noisy parties, I think we're eventually going to realize that in order to move on to civilization we need a place for the law man in our little community. These sorts of declarations seem to make no place for that...

aaand we come to the same "does my voice matter" debate. If i make suggestions to change something, will it be changed? who will change it? what gives them the power to change something or ignore someone's suggestions?

De.Bug said,

Go to change.org, come back, edit comment, go away.

And you are exactly the reason why I am against internet freedom, because people are just nasty and too immature for something like the internet.

stormchaser2010 said,

And you are exactly the reason why I am against internet freedom, because people are just nasty and too immature for something like the internet.

True. Imagine tv if it wasn't regulated. FCC style that is.

ccoltmanm said,

True. Imagine tv if it wasn't regulated. FCC style that is.

TV doesn't have interactivity or user discourse.

McKay said,
It could have millions of signatures I doubt it'll pass.

Whether it makes its way into any country's legislation or not, there are other purposes to it. To those in positions of power, it's a showing of the will of many people. To people not in power, it's a showing that there are many others who are united in thought and purpose with them. Both of those things are important.

McKay said,
It could have millions of signatures I doubt it'll pass.

The power to control the internet is firmly in the hands of the people who shouldn't be allowed to touch a computer. We the people once held the power of the internet, but nowadays that's more or less gone, surrendered to politicians and the entertainment industries, who want to ruin it in their own unique ways.

Majesticmerc said,

The power to control the internet is firmly in the hands of the people who shouldn't be allowed to touch a computer. We the people once held the power of the internet, but nowadays that's more or less gone, surrendered to politicians and the entertainment industries, who want to ruin it in their own unique ways.

Maybe because all "those people" did was take advantage of a good thing. Don't make it seem like they had nothing to do with it. The internet has become a treasure trove of garbage, mostly because when you give people unlimited freedom they completely lose control.