Declaration of Internet Freedom Targets Increasing Web Privatization

by Matt Klassen on July 3, 2012

“We hold these truths to be self-evident,” America’s Declaration of Independence asserts, “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”…and now we might add to that the right to access a free and open Internet as well.

While this certainly isn’t the first we’ve heard of the looming threat of Internet privatization and corporate control over the Web, a consortium of public interest groups, Web sites, and individuals have banded together to form the Declaration of Internet Freedom; ostensibly standing up to the corporations that currently control the Internet as America stood up to the British, telling them that the days of unfair rule have come to an end.

To that end, the coalition is calling on all those who seek a free and open Internet to rally around their cause, letting their voice be heard by adding their name to this new Declaration.

As America’s Declaration of Independence starts with the famous preamble noted above, the Declaration of Internet Freedom begins with these words: We believe that a free and open Internet can bring about a better world. To keep the Internet free and open, we call on communities, industries and countries to recognize these principles. We believe that they will help to bring about more creativity, more innovation and more open societies.

With what the FCC has been attempting to do for several years now with its (in)famous Net Neutrality standards, it should really come as no surprise that more are adding their voices to the rallying call for a free and open Internet, particularly given the fact that the FCC has done nothing but bungle such a worthy cause.

While many have attempted to stand up to the increasing privatization of the Internet, something FCC chairman Julius Genachowski fears will bring price gouging, reduced innovation, and a lower quality Internet, there haven’t been many organized public protests…until now that is.

“We’ve seen how the Internet has been under attack from various directions, and we recognize that it’s time to make that stop,” said TechDirt, one of the Web sites involved in the new movement. “The Internet is an incredible platform that we want to grow and to thrive, and thus, a very large coalition got together to produce the following document as a starting point, hoping to kick off a much larger discussion which we hope you’ll join in.”

At this point the Declaration of Internet Freedom asserts five basic principles:

  1. Expression: Don’t censor the Internet.
  2. Access: Promote universal access to fast and affordable networks.
  3. Openness: Keep the Internet an open network where everyone is free to connect, communicate, write, read, watch, speak, listen, learn, create, and innovate.
  4. Innovation: Protect the freedom to innovate and create without permission. Don’t block new technologies, and don’t punish innovators for their users’ actions.
  5. Privacy: Protect privacy and defend everyone’s ability to control how their data and devices are used.

While the movement is still in its infancy, offering a useful forum for debating and discussing the issues surrounding Internet freedom, its clear that the coalition is hoping that the voices of the public can sway Washington to reign in corporate control of the Internet, giving the platform back to the people. Click here to sign.

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Written by: Matt Klassen. Follow by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

{ 1 comment }

Parfait July 7, 2012 at 2:53 pm

This is an important topic in our ever-increasing connected world. Telecommunications and online accessibility is going to be crucial in this 21st century. Internet is essentially the perfect public good, non-excludable and non-rival in consumption. And as discussed here, this precious commodity is may become regulated and controlled. But on top of that, we must understand the infrastructure at stake. Copper based lines have yet to be replaced with fiber optic broadband as a capacity issue is ensuing. Cybersecurity is still a major concern as more business and personal activities go to the web. Big data logistics and server/data center hardware is also part of the equation. How will these systems be maintained? Will the Digital Divide continue? Are we ready and alert for potential hazards? As we discuss a free internet, let us also turn attention to the physical infrastructure it relies on.

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