A day before we celebrate our nation’s freedom and independence, a wide range of activists and organizations have thrown their support behind a declaration of Internet freedom. The New America Foundation’s Open Technology Institute joins organizations like Amnesty International and Mozilla to affirm five basic principles of global importance:
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.
What’s the Big Idea?
Commitment to Internet freedom must not end with the defeat of the SOPA and PIPA legislation, bills that would have enacted restrictions on participatory democracy and human rights by censoring the Internet. “The Internet is now inseparable from the functioning of democracy. When corporations or governments undermine freedom of expression online or block innovative technologies, the manipulate the demoractic process, marginalize important constituencies, and often silence voices of dissent.” The Internet’s potential for cross-cultural communication is best maintained by opposing government restriction and commercial censorship and abuse.