Following last year’s controversial SOPA and PIPA debates, a group of academics, entrepreneurs, and advocates sought to produce a formal document to protect and define the end-user of the Internet. As a result, the Declaration of Internet Freedom has been released. Here’s an excerpt from the Declaration’s preamble:
We believe that a free and open Internet can bring about a better world. To keep the Internet free and open, we call on communities, industries and countries to recognize these principles. We believe that they will help to bring about more creativity, more innovation and more open societies.
We are joining an international movement to defend our freedoms because we believe that they are worth fighting for.
Split into five central doctrines, the Declaration seeks to define the most important elements of a transparent, free, and open Internet in simplistic, clear, and unquestionable language. Although unenforceable, the Declaration instead works toward the education of even the most uninformed of people. As was key to the SOPA debate, ignorance can prove to be a path toward misguided fear and reactionary responses. By defining basic tenets of the Internet experience and encouraging further discussion, the Declaration hopes to undercut the potential for ignorance, to foster an intellectual community, and to discuss precisely what the Internet should be for all of its users.
Although the document may not amount to much today, there is a distinct feeling of optimism surrounding the movement. The serious sentiment of the Declaration betrays a shifting tone within the Internet atmosphere, and an increasing cognizance of the impending push toward regulation. In moving now, the Declaration establishes an affable and remarkably mature tone of support and readiness for the ongoing discussion. Shedding the immaturities inherent within the Anonymous and Lulz movements, the Declaration is steeped within the bounds of traditional political language — wording utterly comprehensible for even the most disconnect of people.
To endorse the Declaration of Internet Freedom, sign the document on its official website. For those hoping to contribute to the discussion, Free Press has announced several forums for discussion, including a dedicated sub-Reddit.