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A Bill of Rights for the Internet
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A Bill of Rights for the Internet


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Key concepts and issues leading to the proposal of an "Internet Bill of Rights process".

Key concepts and issues leading to the proposal of an "Internet Bill of Rights process".

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  • 1. A Bill of Rights for the Internet
      • Vittorio Bertola Interconnected human being Institutional hacker
    iSummit 2008 Sapporo, 30 July – 1 August 2008
  • 2. Key features of the Internet
    • User-centric
      • Intelligence and power at the edges
      • Users = Suppliers
    • Feudal
      • (Almost) absolute power of the ISP
    • Transnational
      • Trend towards lowest common denominator
    • Market driven
      • Relative lack of public interest consideration
  • 3. Emerging Internet principles
    • Global interconnection and reachability
    • Network neutrality
    • Freedom to innovate at the edges
    • Free, open standards
    • ...
    • Without these principles, the Internet is not the Internet any more
  • 4. Emerging day-to-day issues
    • I run a blog, am I responsible for the content of the comments that other people post to it?
    • I run a wiki, am I responsible for the defamatory statements that an anonymous user added to someone's biography?
    • I am building a start-up that hosts user-generated content, am I responsible for copyright infringements made by the users?
    • Lack of consensus on responsibilities => lack of reliable, easy to understand legal frameworks
  • 5. Disappearing traditional rights
    • How do you uphold freedom of expression?
    • How do you guarantee privacy?
    • How can we reach the Milllennium Development Goals?
    • ...
    • Need to bridge a gap between high-level principles and day-to-day practices Need to understand how to ensure that rights are taken into account when drafting policy
  • 6. Multiple challenges
    • How do we ensure that the basic principles of the Internet are recognized and upheld, so that the Internet remains the Internet?
    • How do we provide final users with easy guidelines on rights and duties when using the Internet?
    • How do we ensure that any further development of the Internet respects basic rights and meets overall public interest objectives, for the good of mankind?
    • ... in a distributed, global, diverse environment?
  • 7. Assumptions
    • No global consensus on moral values is possible
      • ...but rough consensus on specific issues is
    • You can't really impose anything over the Internet
      • Any standard will work only if adopted from the bottom (authority is futile)
    • Form follows function
      • Different problems will need different instruments
    • Mountains can be crossed one step at a time
      • Let the people who are ready to walk make one step together
  • 8. The Internet Bill of Rights
    • Not a statement but a process
      • Bring people together and they will talk and agree
    • Not a single monolithic document, but a range of different documents
      • From international treaties to best practices
      • From high-level principles to practical guidelines
      • From founding stones to furniture that can change quickly
    • Centered on final users
      • Must make the environment clear and predictable
  • 9. It's easy ...?
    • Establish a venue (the IGF? others?)
    • Establish a process (IETF-like?)
    • Pick a problem
    • Gather stakeholders and discuss
    • Agree (those who agree)
    • Formalize consensus
    • Go home and implement
      • Government => Law
      • Company => Business policy
      • Individual, civil society etc. => Practices
    • Repeat from step 3
  • 10. Thank you
    • E-mail
    • [email_address]
    • The Internet Bill of Rights campaign