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Give us Feedback on The Declaration of Internet Freedom

21 like 1 dislike

We believe that a free and open Internet can bring about a better world. But to keep the Internet free and open, we must promote these principles in every country, every industry and every community. And we believe that these freedoms will bring about more creativity, more innovation and a better society

We are joining an international movement to defend our freedoms because we believe that they are worth fighting for.

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.

Join us in keeping the Internet free and open.

Below, we have posted each of these original principles as a separate item so that you can vote them up and down here on the Step2 platform, comment on them, discuss them, provide feedback, etc.  You can also add your own principles if you feel that anything in particular is missing.  We look forward to your feedback and insights.

Declaration of Internet Freedom

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initiated Jul 1, 2012 in Success Stories by Mike Masnick (22,930 points)   57 99 160 1 flag
edited Jul 1, 2012 by Mike Masnick

15 Responses

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

response added Jul 1, 2012 by Mike Masnick (22,930 points)   57 99 160
@mmasnick Is this meaningful without calling for either an abolition or a massive shortening of time on software patents?
@blinddrew this is about principles, not specific policy recommendations.
@mmasnick ah yes, point taken, that's me leaping from requirements to solutions!
Actually, might need to have a bit more of a think about it in those terms.
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Expression: Don't censor the Internet.

response added Jul 1, 2012 by Mike Masnick (22,930 points)   57 99 160
@mmasnick What counts as censorship? Is a prohibition on child pornography censorship? What about laws enabling people to sue for defamation?

It might be more helpful to say, instead, don't filter the Internet. If government officials think something on the Internet is illegal, or if individuals think something on the Internet violates their rights, they should have to go through a legal process to get that content taken down. Don't use technology to impose prior restraints on speech.
@mmasnick Dude you just don't get it. We don't want any censorship or filters. We want freedom to exchange any information we want. If it's illegal material then go after the people distributing it. We don't send the DOT crews to the houses of drug dealers to stop them from selling drugs by putting jersey barriers in front of their driveways, we send police and authority after them after proof has been obtained of the crime being commited. Sharing information doesn't violate civil rights, people violate civil rights and should be dealt with accordingly, especially if they are passing around child porn.
@redwormcharlie I agree completely with Charlie.
@unempirical as stated above, filtering doesn't solve the problem. Go after the sources.
Sorry all you techie porn-addicts but censorship has ALWAYS been the DUTY of the FCC to make sure children are not able to see the pornternet.  I like some pornography, - omg yes -, but I would be willing to assert the fact that I am an adult much like is required for purchasing alcohol. I do not drink alcohol often or look at porn often, but I do.  Looking at indecency without authentication will no longer be allowed in the United States when the FCC starts regulating wire communications disguised as [sic] "Internet"by a senile old justice in 1997.
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Access: Promote universal access to fast and affordable networks.

response added Jul 1, 2012 by Mike Masnick (22,930 points)   57 99 160
@mmasnick Hmm, this feels a bit like the old, "quick, good, cheap - pick two" saying. Universal, fast and affordable?
@mmasnick I'd add "with any device." An important, and innovative, principle of the end-to-end is that the network does not discriminate as to the nature of the device attached to it.
As OSes become increasingly certified, this principle of agnostic device access may be compromised.
@mmasnick The mess we are in today comes from bad regulations and granted monopolies. I like how Brazil seems to be heading into one giant public network that will compete directly with the private sector for instance. Sure things can go awfully wrong but it's one alternative. The other is to provide incentives for those who invest in the infra-structure to better cover existent areas with coverage and extend this to other areas such as rural or other harder to access places. Still, to achieve this goal Governments around the world will have to fix the mess they brought upon themselves.
Broadband Internet should already be as pervasive as FM radio already is like in China where FM radios can already double as Wi-Fi ISPs.  This has been possible at least since 1992.  The FCC knows it could be done today without disturbing the archaic analog usage of FM whatsoever.  Older radios would still work and would not realize the signals also included Wi-Fi. To get Wi-Fi on these old radios there would need to be a converter 'box" like made analog TV's still work for a while.
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Privacy: Protect privacy and defend everyone’s ability to control how their data and devices are used.

response added Jul 1, 2012 by Mike Masnick (22,930 points)   57 99 160
@mmasnick Are there any circumstances in which protection of privacy could come into conflict with the freedom to innovate?
@unempirical Why do you think copyrights exist?  It's all about defining what counts as "their data".  Ideas, once communicated, are fair game.  Promoting a society of "share your ideas and inventions only in real life, face to face" is something I support, and doing that by obliterating copyright is a way to do it.  Either that, or a flat percentage of profits from any endeavor should be set aside as a "copyrighter's fund", so if anyone thinks it's their idea, they're free to claim that money, and if 1.6 million people can prove they had the idea, then congratulations, 1.6 million people will share the $100/month that constitutes that percentage of profits.
@xeuton I don't think the privacy principle is supposed to refer only to control over creative works. I don't have a copyright on my date of birth or the list of websites I've visited in the past month, but I do have an interest in keeping this information private.
Privacy: Protect privacy and defend an improved ability for everyone to control how much personal information about themselves they share with others.

This is better because:
1) The statement of "defend everyone's ability to control" in current privacy text is a defence of the current situation with privacy. I'm not interested in defending the current situation, I want to see an improvement.

2) The statement of controlling "their data" in current privacy text can be used by antipirates to claim that they must control the data on my harddrive because its "their data", which would be bad for privacy. My suggestion leaves all such pirate/anti-pirate quarrel interpretations out of the picture. It only defends privacy itself.
@tommy Tommy, I think what your version misses is what other people do with personal information that they have gained about you. Also "an improved ability" is, i think, insufficiently robust for a document of this nature. I've lowered your court appearance fee by $5, voila, it's improved.
I think we need something in there about finding out what data is being stored in the first place as well.
@mmasnick I am single mom of four.  I have been targeted by local officials in Child Protective Services and unlawfully charged with "neglect" because I am a "vocal", online activist for victims of these agencies the world over.  I have a fairly large following on a victim's advocate site, which I administer, and network with many others online working in the same areas.  In the course of "investigating" me, one appointed official in our neglect case has accessed, copied and distributed my posts on a large FB activist group to key principles in our case, including the judge, with the intent to negatively influence their decisions, and recommendations.  Not as it relates to the "best interests" of my children, but strictly because they feel threatened by my views on the subject.  
Even though I had personally blocked this individual from my FB view, I found out, after the fact, that all my FB activity was monitored and could be seen, by virtue of the fact of a "protective order" of the court pertaining my children.  Irregardless of the fact that there is nothing specific in the protective orders on the subject of my internet activity, and is irrelevant to the care and concern of my children.  
I have also found out that many others it similar situations nationwide are also having their privacy violated or their online activity improperly used against them in this manner.  Even to the extreme punishment of having their parental rights terminated(or threatened) or having trumped up charges leveled against them and arrest, only because they were actively opposing or exposing the corruption of the false juvenile/family courts and CPS.  Any thoughts on how these issues can be specifically addressed in this declaration?  Thanks
This is ALREADY protected in Europe with the C-131/12 ruling but is the human right glaringly not protected in the U.S. because of the U.S. "coining" a new word first used in legal writings in England and "plagiarizing"* the "Statute of Anne" rite and never protecting the human right of visual artists. This human right was first protected in England with the Engravers' Act of 1734 and extended to be an inheritable right to protect artist or family honor in 1766 two years after the first political cartoonist William Hogarth died to protect his spouse as well.
* the "Statute of Anne" was a government document and already "public property"
18 like 3 dislike

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

response added Jul 1, 2012 by Mike Masnick (22,930 points)   57 99 160
@mmasnick I think this principle is hopelessly unclear. What is "open" supposed to mean, exactly?
@mmasnick This is nothing but a combination of all the other demands.  Keeping this in the declaration will hurt the cause.
@mmasnick Agree with the above Mike, think this need expansion / clarification
Wi-Fi will soon be universally available and free, but must become SAFE before this occurs.
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I feel like we need to add something about keeping the internet from ever becoming a monopoly or ran by one nation or sole entity. To protect the internet in its borderless limites to maintain and remain a open-platform available to the people from the people.
response added Jul 2, 2012 by Matthew LaMond (340 points)   1 1 2
@atomiccow In other words, the internet should be decentralised.
@atomiccow does the "Open" line not cover this?  Seems like it could...
@mmasnick Could do Mike, in fact I should have read this before commenting above, but I don't think that's clear enough I'm afraid.
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leaderless - the internet shall not be owned by a single government or orgaization.

response added Jul 2, 2012 by robert miller (320 points)   1 2
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This looks like a list which was generated by a committee.  

Don't censor the internet, but somehow enable people to control how their own data flows around the internet.  

The authors of these principles have some unstated goals in mind, and I'm having a hard time figuring out what those are from these vague, and somewhat contradictory statements.

I value this effort, and recognize how difficult it is, but this is definitely not a final draft.
response added Jul 2, 2012 by thirteen sox (180 points)   2
@e1173033 I guess you are mistaking this with actual policy making. I see this as an effort to establish 'guidelines' to be followed when dealing with the internet.
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Privacy: Protect privacy and defend an improved ability for everyone to control how much personal information about themselves they share with others.
response added Jul 2, 2012 by tommy (190 points)   2
Almost addressed legally in Europe but not quite completely yet in C-131/12.
The right to be forgotten does not exist yet but the right to challenge search engines for inaccuracies remain and are now being pursued in the U.S....!;?text=&docid=138782&pageIndex=0&doclang=EN&mode=lst&cid=109358

<blockquote>3. The rights to erasure and blocking of data, provided for in Article 12(b), and the right to object, provided for in Article 14(a), of Directive 95/46, do not confer on the data subject a right to address himself to a search engine service provider in order to prevent indexing of the information relating to him personally, published legally on third parties’ web pages, invoking his wish that such information should not be known to internet users when he considers that it might be prejudicial to him or he wishes it to be consigned to oblivion.</blockquote>
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Re-post from a separate discussion:
"If we are going to write the Declaration of Internet Freedom, we should further the cause by drafting the Internet Constitution"

To begin:

"We the People of the free and open Internet hereby declare our intent to stand in solid opposition to any threat to our individual liberty. Our personal Internet liberty maintains the right to privacy, open access, and free expression. As citizens of a global Internet unrestricted by geographic boundaries, we will be wary to any attempt at censorship imposed by nation-states or hacker groups.

The Internet and its people have the ability to phase out politics on a global scale. A free and open Internet champions free-flowing information for the masses. As such, the Internet contributes directly to the worldwide spread of democracy. Any government seeking to suppress Internet freedom in any way should thereby be labeled as a threat to worldwide democracy.

Article 1: Censorship does not apply to any web presence that promotes the exploitation of children in any way. Any Internet purveyor of child pornography should be dismantled without mercy by any capable institution."

response added Jul 3, 2012 by Mike Co (390 points)   1 1 3
@an0nymoose I'm really not trying to troll bait here, but could we not always default to American style declarations. The Internet is global and maybe something new for all of us would be a better start.
@rpelayo Good point, but the US has the advantage of being a relatively new country and a lot of thought went into their initial constitution and it did, for a long time, serve them very well.
That being said there must be some newer works from newer states that might better serve our purpose here. Any suggestions?
@blinddrew  I thought maybe the UN Declaration of Human Rights ( However it's preamble does sound a bit light today.

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