Last week the ‘save the Internet’ movement got a serious boost. It started with a declaration for Internet freedom, was followed by a conservative response, and culminated with a resolution passed by the Human Rights Council of the United Nations.
A Declaration of Internet Freedom sprouted up to coincide with America’s Independence Day. While not laying out specific requests, the intention does seem to be to stimulate discussion and present a few core principles to fight for. The declaration is short and simple, focusing on expressions, access, openness, innovation, and privacy. Many groups have already joined the movement including the ACLU, Mozilla, reddit, and others. It will really gain steam if some of the big players such as Apple, Google, or Microsoft get behind it.
After the first declaration, a libertarian response soon followed. Under the banner of The Technology Revolution, A Campaign for Liberty Manifesto lays out a more hands-off approach that shuns censorship and regulation of nearly any kind. While the first declaration encourages discussion without specific demands, the libertarian response is hard against the federal government and echoes the message of congressmen such as Rep. Ron Paul.
Perhaps coincidentally, on July 6 the United Nations Human Rights Council passed a resolution that calls for individuals to have the same rights online as they have offline. The resolution was presented by the United States along with Brazil, Nigeria, Sweden, and Turkey and it attracted 85 co-sponsors. While the resolution doesn’t present a specific plan or penalties, it does establish a precedent that lays the groundwork for progress to be made that supports freedom of expression on the Internet.