Feeds

Activists unite, declare 'Internet Freedom'

Cue the endless debate

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Anticipating the American Independence Day on July 4, a group of organizations and individuals have banded together in support of a manifesto they're calling the Declaration of Internet Freedom.

In the US Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson famously wrote that all people are endowed with "certain unalienable rights," including "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." The principles the Declaration of Internet Freedom espouses are somewhat less lofty: an uncensored internet, universal access to fast network connections, the freedom to connect and communicate, unrestricted technology innovation, and online privacy.

"We believe that a free and open Internet can bring about a better world," reads the Declaration's preamble. "To keep the Internet free and open, we call on communities, industries and countries to recognize these principles."

Organizations who have endorsed the Declaration include the American Civil Liberties Union, Amnesty International, the Center for Democracy and Technology, the Electronic Freedom Foundation (EFF), Free Press, Human Rights First, and Reporters Without Borders, among others – not to mention Cheezburger, Inc. and Fark.

Also listed are a number of individuals, including esteemed internet daddy Vint Cerf, Boing Boing's Cory Doctorow, author Neil Gaiman, and technology writer Dan Gillmor.

"The EFF community and millions of others fought together to stop SOPA and the powerful interests that sought to limit our innovation and free speech," the EFF said in a blog post endorsing the Declaration. "That fight left us both humbled and energized. It was a wake-up call reminding us of the fragility of a free and open Internet."

But not everyone seems equally pleased with the Declaration or its message. A website with a similar-sounding URL has since appeared (declarationofinternetfreedom.org), offering a rebuttal to the Declaration. This one is undersigned by a consortium of anti-regulatory, small-government think tanks and lobbyists, including Americans for Tax Reform, The Competitive Enterprise Institute, and The TaxPayers' Alliance, among others.

"We're not convinced Internet policymaking can be effectively guided by something as short as the 'Declaration of Internet Freedom' issued by Free Press and other groups," reads a statement on the contrarian site, which goes on to suggest that the Declaration's wording is too ambiguous and could therefore lead to increased government regulation (presumably always a bad thing).

If the Declaration's backers hope that it will help preserve the free and open Internet, however, just how it will do so remains unclear. So far, its main goal seems to be to open a public dialog on the issues. The Declaration's preamble continues, "Let's discuss these principles – agree or disagree with them, debate them, translate them, make them your own and broaden the discussion with your community – as only the Internet can make possible."

That last bit sounds ominous. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
'Cowardly, venomous trolls' threatened with TWO-YEAR sentences for menacing posts
UK government: 'Taking a stand against a baying cyber-mob'
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
The 'fun-nification' of computer education – good idea?
Compulsory code schools, luvvies love it, but what about Maths and Physics?
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
Zippy one-liners, broken promises: Doctor Who on the Orient Express
Series finally hits stride, but Clara's U-turn is baffling
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.