Just as the United States celebrated its independence this 4th of July, multiple Internet activists have come together in an effort to proclaim a “Declaration of Internet Freedom.” More than 100 advocacy groups have joined the movement in hopes of promoting a “positive vision of the Internet and its future, and beta-test a set of principles that can help serve as a rallying cry for Internet freedom fighters both in America and across the globe.”
If you remember, Internet users certainly showed their commitment to keeping the Internet free and open back in January when more than 14 million users demonstrated their opposition to the proposed SOPA and PIPA bills. Although many websites went black in a defensive approach of protest, Josh Levy, the Internet Campaign Director of Free Press, which is the organization that is spearheading the initiative, told us that, with this movement, the groups want to take an offensive approach.
The groups have developed 5 basic principles for what they believe the Internet should be. These include:
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.
“Protecting the Internet is protecting democracy, it’s protecting our ability to speak with each other, [and] it’s a fundamental concept,” said Levy.
Incidentally, TechFreedom and the Competitive Enterprise Institute have also come out with their own “Declaration of Internet Freedom.” Although Levy doesn’t agree with every element this proclamation includes, he told us that the whole idea behind their own movement is to create conversation in order to find solutions for preserving the open Web.
Levy went on to say that their “Declaration of Internet Freedom” is a continuing effort to raise awareness for protecting the Internet. At this point, the Declaration has received more than 1,000 signatures and is expanding into a global movement as well.