The Internet Declaration of Freedom is a set of principles that its authors hope will help keep the internet "free and open."
Generally speaking, I have a hard time ascribing too much significance to things like the Declaration of Internet Freedom, because when the rubber hits the road they're pretty much meaningless - particularly when "internet freedom" can mean anything from not throttling online games to keeping basic access available in order to give protestors a slightly better chance at avoiding roving squads of government thugs. On the other hand, the point seems to be not to demand these rights so much as to discuss them and in that regard there are definitely some things here worth talking about.
- We stand for a free and open Internet.
- We support transparent and participatory processes for making Internet policy and the establishment of five basic principles:
- 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.
It's clearly more of a "big idea" document than a workable plan and it's obviously not going to keep the next tin-pot dictator from switching off the internet when the masses start to get out of line. But for those of us lucky enough to live in countries where our biggest worry is an inability to comprehend Facebook privacy settings, it's not a bad place to start a conversation. Individuals who want to put their name to the Declaration of Internet Freedom can do so at Access, Credo, the EFF or Free Press; to find out more, go to internetdeclaration.org.