If you've paid attention to Internet news over the past year, you might know that the notion of a "free Internet" has been hotly debated and seen by many as under siege.
Internet activists recently stopped SOPA and PIPA, two bills that would've given broad powers to government and companies to shut down copyright infringing websites. Now, a U.S. Congressman, Republican Rep. Darrell Issa, is stoking an online debate on what a potential "Digital Citizens' Bill of Rights" could look like.
Issa posted the bill on this collaborative bill-editing site called Madison (you can find it here), and the crowd is making edits and revisions to it. It's a neat work in progress as people collaborate and try to define those rights that we hold dear online, in a way that can be protected from a potentially over-zealous government.
The government is responding to entreaties from major corporations (i.e. The Recording Industry Association of America), who are seeking more tools to protect themselves against bad actors online who are selling counterfeit goods or pirated digital content. But many worry the government powers would be too extensive, allowing law enforcement to shut down websites and blogs that display potentially infringing content.
You can also follow the commentary on the Reddit thread.
Below is what's been written so far:
The Digital Bill of Rights
- 1. Freedom - digital citizens have a right to a free, uncensored internet
- 2. Openness - digital citizens have a right to an open, unobstructed internet
- 3. Equality - all digital citizens are created equal on the internet
- 4. Participation - digital citizens have a right to peaceably participate where and how they choose on the internet
- 5. Creativity - digital citizens have a right to create, grow and collaborate on the internet, and be held accountable for what they create
- 6. Sharing - digital citizens have a right to freely share their ideas, lawful discoveries and opinions on the internet
- 7. Accessibility - digital citizens have a right to access the internet equally, regardless of who they are or where they are
- 8. Association - digital citizens have a right to freely associate on the internet
- 9. Privacy - digital citizens have a right to privacy on the internet
- 10. Property - digital citizens have a right to benefit from what they create, and be secure in their intellectual property on the internet
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