Advocacy groups and politicians from across the political spectrum have taken up “Internet freedom” as their rallying cry in recent months.
Although many people eagerly declare their support for a free Internet and promise to protect privacy, the broad consensus breaks down when people begin discussing specific policies, such as net neutrality or cybersecurity.
From Ron Paul to the Declaration of Independence, we have all the latest on the debate on Internet Freedom.
Internet Freedom is a Basic Right, UN Declares
The United Nations Human Rights Council affirmed that people should have the same human rights while using the Internet and in other technologies as they do offline, including the freedom of expression.
The historic accord was signed by 72 countries and it was presented by the U.S., Tunisia, Brazil, Nigeria, Turkey, and Sweden.
“The same rights that people have offline must also be protected online, in particular freedom of expression, which is applicable regardless of frontiers and through any media of one’s choice,” the text in the resolution reads. The Internet and similar technologies, the resolution said, is a “driving force” to promote progress towards several forms of development.
The Declaration of Internet Freedom
I started off my morning by reading the Declaration of Independence. I never get tired of reading it or pondering what was going on at the time. It’s hard to transport myself back to July 4th, 1776 but it’s pretty remarkable to think about what was going on that caused 56 people to sign this brilliant document and in one moment start our country on amazing course over the next 236 years that have had a profound impact on the history of the world.
If you haven’t read it in a while – go read it.
Ron and Rand Paul’s New Fight: Internet Freedom
While Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul has not yet conceded the race to former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, the soon-to-be retiring Texas Congressman has teamed up with his son Rand Paul (Senator R-Kentucky) to take on a new crusade: Internet Freedom. Similar to his fight against ending the Federal Reserve, the Paul father and son team are taking the fight to government regulation of the Internet, but their perspective on it is decidedly Libertarian, which means that they do not believe the government should regulate anything related to the Internet.
What the UNHRC’s “Internet Freedom” Resolution Might Mean
When the U.N. Council on Human Rights moved Thursday to express support for freedom of expression online, critics — like one Cuban diplomat — observed that it urges states to focus on the mere 35 percent of the world that has Internet access. Others point out that states like China have an opinion on freedom that breaks sharply with the tenets of countries like the U.S., and that a non-binding resolution from a U.N. body isn’t likely to change much inside those borders.
This Declaration of Internet Freedom Is Vague
We’re not the only ones to find this declaration too simple. As a direct response, TechFreedom and the Competitive Enterprise Institute have created their own Declaration of Internet Freedom. “We’re not convinced Internet policymaking can be effectively guided by something as short as the ‘Declaration of Internet Freedom’ issued by Free Press and other groups,” explains the site. “Rather than enshrining particular consumer preferences, like ‘universal access,’ we focus on core principles like humility and respect for the rule of law. Our vision emphasizes what truly matters to Internet policymaking today: the process of technological evolution, not the end result,” adds Ryan Radia, associate director of the Center for Technology & Innovation at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, in a TechFreedom post.