What would a "digital Citizens' Bill of Rights" look like for Internet users?
By Gus G. Sentementes
Sep 13, 2012 | 10:40 AM
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.