[IRP] Fwd: [nexa] "A Call to Defense and Celebration of the Online Commonwealth"

Max Senges maxsenges
Sat Sep 12 20:44:53 EEST 2009


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: J.C. DE MARTIN <demartin at polito.it>


The Center for Democracy & Technology invites you to join us in
celebrating One Web Day by reading and signing the document: A Call to
Defense and Celebration of the Online Commonwealth.

This document, developed in collaboration with our new CDT Fellows,
articulates core values that have enabled the Internet to prosper and
highlights our shared duty to keep it open, innovative and free.

We invite you to read the document and attach your name in a show of
support. We encourage everyone who shares the views outlined here to
share this site with your friends.

On September 22 ? One Web Day ? we will report how many supporting
signatures have been collected.


A Call to Defense and Celebration of the Online Commonwealth

Common Values and Shared Duties on the Internet


Over the past two decades, the Internet has transformed economic,
political and cultural landscapes across the entire globe. Out of the
simple exchange of data packets, we have collectively built a vast and
complex information ecosystem, linked together into many thousands of
overlapping social networks, which have enriched and ennobled our lives.
Though we speak different languages and have different values, together
we have built a place ? myriad places ? where we can all meet and
communicate with one another.

We do not often enough stand back and marvel at the new global online
society that we are building, nor do we frequently enough reflect upon
our place, as individuals, in this new social order. It is time to do
so. The Internet has become so pervasive in all of our lives that we
have begun to take it for granted, like the air we breathe or the water
we drink. But we cannot afford to do that anymore. The Online
Commonwealth ? open, innovative, and free ? is under attack from many
quarters: Destructive and often virulent code threatens our shared
infrastructure, while some cyber-security measures proposed in response
may invade our privacy and accord unprecedented control to regulators;
online predators and adult content raise concerns for parents seeking to
protect their children, but restrictions proposed in reaction to these
problems may chill lawful adult speech; rigid local regulations deter
innovation, creating conflicting and confusing jurisdictional claims
regarding applicable rules while failing to promote online order;
increasingly sophisticated tools for filtering and monitoring online
activities are implemented by public authorities and private actors;
overly restrictive intellectual property laws may dampen our collective
creativity; closed, gated systems increasingly place innovation behind
locked barriers.

There are plenty of anecdotes about harmful online activities, usually
accompanied by calls for new restrictions and new legislation. Press
reports about online activities are replete with descriptions of the
unlawful, the unreasonable, and the unpleasant. Fewer stories catalogue,
and less attention is paid to, the manner in which the Net acts as
catalyst for economic growth, education, and human rights, how it
educates the young, connects the elderly to friends and family, fosters
new economic ventures and global trade, knits together the world?s
scientific community, and entertains and enlightens us all. It is time
for those of us who care about the continued development of the Online
Commonwealth to articulate the shared values that have enabled it to
flourish, to celebrate its continued vitality, and to come, where
necessary, to its defense, while also working to ameliorate harms
arising from it.

We believe in the free and open flow of ideas and information embodied
in the bits we send across the Internet. The Internet is a society of
mind. Individuals ? not intermediaries, whether governmental or private,
acting without their authorization ? have the right to decide with whom
they wish to communicate. We oppose mechanisms ? whether embodied in
law, technology, or both ? that unreasonably or without authorization
interfere with the voluntary allocation of our own attention. We support
mechanisms that enable individuals to decide what online groups to join
and with whom they want to interact. We believe that the Online
Commonwealth grows more valuable every day because it is open to all. No
one should need permission to use the global language, to add ideas and
information to our shared stores of knowledge, or to try out a new
protocol or application, and we oppose mechanisms which place
unreasonable constraints or controls on our freedom to continue to do so.

We believe in the promise of the Internet: that ideas and information
can be shared by all and with all. We worry that overly aggressive
assertions of intellectual property rights or other forms of content
control can create an ?anti-commons,? preventing us from exercising our
rights to learn from and to speak freely to one another.

We believe that the software code through which we communicate online
can radically extend our powers, free us from routine matters, and help
us direct our attention to the most useful information and our most
valuable relationships. But we recognize that code can also invade our
privacy and destroy the very devices and networks through which we
interact. Those who propagate destructive or invasive software code are
the enemies of the Online Commonwealth, and we should use all
appropriate tools at our disposal, including law, to deter and punish
them. We share a duty to learn how to defend our own systems from
attack, and to take available steps to avoid becoming victims or
propagators of harm.

We believe that the people of the Internet are, collectively, the killer
app. We confront our screens as individuals ? but we can act through
those screens with others, and it is by engaging our minds with those of
others that we create new, diverse, interdependent roles, thereby
expanding, continuously, the potential exchanges between related or
complimentary roles that create wealth and wisdom. Our new Online
Commonwealth is not founded on physical resources, geographic territory,
financial capital, or even human labor. It emerges from attention and
effort expended in increasingly diverse roles that channel our efforts
into pursuit of goals defined by the many different groups with which we
collaborate every day. These groups make the world wealthier and wiser
every day precisely because they have many different, diverse, and
decentralized goals. But all groups should share one core value ?
respect for and deference to other groups that refrain from imposing
harm on others. The Internet enables people with very different values
to coexist peacefully, online, precisely insofar as all groups respect
this principle, and we oppose any claim by any group ? public or private
? that seeks to impose its own will on those whose welfare it doesn?t
seek to serve and who have not consented to its claim to govern.

The Online Commonwealth is continuously under threat ? both from those
who would stifle its creativity and those who abuse its liberties. Who
will defend it? We all must do so. By collaborating to cut off havens
for harm. By participating in online reputation and rating systems by
means of which we guide each other?s use of the Internet. By resisting
regulation that uses the potential for such harm to justify equally
harmful constraints. By creating new online institutions that help us
take collective action to pursue our shared visions of the good. And by
celebrating the many ways in which the Internet has unleased the
creative powers of millions of people.

We are releasing this call on One Web Day, September 22, to reaffirm our
shared commitment to the values that have enabled the Internet to
prosper. We are all citizens of countries and states, members of
families, employees of companies, participants in churches and clubs.
But we are also, importantly, members of the shared, global Online
Commonwealth, and we re-affirm our shared commitment to defend and
celebrate this marvelous collective creation.

[NOTE: In order to add your name to the list, an email address must be
provided. An automated email will be sent to you for verification
purposes only. Email addresses are not made public, neither will be they
be shared with any other third party. However, if you wish to sign the
document without revealing your email address, simply use anon at blank.com
and your name will go into a queue until approved by a moderator.]
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