0100011001110010011001010110010101100100011011
1101101101001000000100011001110010011001010110
0101011001000110111101101101...
• To articulate the core principles of cyber-
  libertarianism
• To provide the public and policymakers with a
  better un...
3
• Individuals—acting in whatever capacity they
  choose (as citizens, consumers, companies, or
  collectives)—should be at...
• Is not freedom for the State to reorder our affairs
  • To supposedly benefit certain people or groups; or
  • To improv...
• Cyber-libertarians draw no distinction between social
  and economic freedom when applying this vision:
  o Social Freed...
• The digital equivalent of so-called “market failures”
• We support voluntary, spontaneous, bottom-up,
  marketplace resp...
• Includes monetary & non-monetary transactions
• Includes proprietary & non-proprietary modes of
  production
• Collabora...
9
• Natural Rights philosophers – John Locke, Ayn Rand, The
  Founders
• Utilitarian philosophers – John Stuart Mill (On Lib...
• Ithiel de Sola Pool (Technologies of Freedom)
• Alvin Toffler (The Third Wave, Future Shock)
• George Gilder (Microcosm,...
• Nicholas Negroponte (Being Digital)
• John Perry Barlow (“Declaration of the
  Independence of Cyberspace”)
• David Post...
13
• The opposite of cyber-libertarianism: cyber-choices should be
  guided by the State or an elite according to some amorph...
• Leftist cyber-collectivists & the “information commons”
  or “digital commons” movement share belief that digital
  reso...
•   Lawrence Lessig (Code)
•   Tim Wu (Who Controls the Internet?)
•   Yochai Benkler (The Wealth of Networks)
•   Jonatha...
17
• The First Amendment is of paramount
  importance and should apply equally to all
  speakers and media platforms
• We fav...
• The real “Big Brother” problem is state
  surveillance, not private data collection
• Privacy is a profoundly subjective...
• “Open access” regulation is nothing more than
  infrastructure socialism
• Network operators should be free to own,
  op...
• “Market power” & “code failures” are best dealt
  with by spontaneous evolution of markets & new
  entry, not bureaucrat...
• No special taxes should be imposed on online
  services or Internet access
• If the Net disrupts traditional tax bases, ...
• People should be free to do as they please
  with their money
• We shouldn’t protect state-run lotteries and
  casinos
•...
• Cyber-libertarians are deeply divided over IP
  issues (esp. copyright), reflecting a long-standing
  division among lib...
Please visit The Technology Liberation Front
              www.techliberation.com




•   The cyber-libertarian group publ...
Adam Thierer is a Senior Fellow at The Progress & Freedom
Foundation (PFF) & Director of PFF’s Center for Digital Media
Fr...
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Cyber Libertarianism: Real Internet Freedom (Thierer & Szoka)

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Adam Thierer & I are attempting to articulate the core principles of cyber-libertarianism to provide the public and policymakers with a better understanding of this alternative vision for ordering the affairs of cyberspace. We invite comments and suggestions regarding how we should refine and build-out this outline. We hope this outline serves as the foundation of a book we eventually want to pen defending what we regard as “Real Internet Freedom.”

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Cyber Libertarianism: Real Internet Freedom (Thierer & Szoka)

  1. 1. 0100011001110010011001010110010101100100011011 1101101101001000000100011001110010011001010110 0101011001000110111101101101001000000100011001 1100100110010101100101011001000110111101101101 0010000001000110011100100110010101100101011001 0001101111011011010010000001000110011100100110 0101011001010110010001101111011011010010000001 0001100111001001100101011001010110010001101111 0110110100100000010001100111001001100101011001 0101100100011011110110110100100000010001100111 0010011001010110010101100100011011110110110100 Adam Thierer & Berin Szoka
  2. 2. • To articulate the core principles of cyber- libertarianism • To provide the public and policymakers with a better understanding of this alternative vision for ordering the affairs of cyberspace • Outline for a future book about “Real Internet Freedom” • To reclaim the term from those who have bastardized it as a mandate for government control of new media 2
  3. 3. 3
  4. 4. • Individuals—acting in whatever capacity they choose (as citizens, consumers, companies, or collectives)—should be at liberty to pursue their own tastes and interests online • Mottos: “Live & Let Live” & “Hands Off the ‘Net!” • Seeks to minimize the scope of state coercion in solving social and economic problems online • Looks instead to voluntary solutions and arrangements based on mutual agreement 4
  5. 5. • Is not freedom for the State to reorder our affairs • To supposedly benefit certain people or groups; or • To improve some amorphous “public interest” • It’s freedom from state action • Is not about imposing a single utopian vision • It’s about enabling a “Utopia of Utopias” (per philosopher Robert Nozick): A framework within which many different models of organizing commerce and community can flourish alongside, and in competition with, each other, • This allows users to pursue their own values and interests and create their own communities 5
  6. 6. • Cyber-libertarians draw no distinction between social and economic freedom when applying this vision: o Social Freedom: Individuals should be granted liberty of conscience, thought, opinion, speech, and expression in online environments o Economic Freedom: Individuals should be granted liberty of contract, innovation, and exchange in online environments • It’s not enough to support liberty of action in one sphere • Foreclosing freedom in one sphere will eventually affect freedom in the other 6
  7. 7. • The digital equivalent of so-called “market failures” • We support voluntary, spontaneous, bottom-up, marketplace responses • We oppose coercive, top-down, governmental solutions • Only market-driven approaches offer the rapidity and nimbleness necessary to be effective because the Internet is a uniquely dynamic medium • Cyber-libertarians have a strong aversion to: • The politicization of technology issues • Efforts to replace market processes with bureaucratic processes 7
  8. 8. • Includes monetary & non-monetary transactions • Includes proprietary & non-proprietary modes of production • Collaborative, non-proprietary technologies & efforts (e.g., Wikipedia and open source software) can also be “markets” • But the cyber-libertarian does reject the notion these models are the only acceptable model or that they should be imposed on us by law • We support techno-agnosticism: Lawmakers and courts should not be tilting the balance in one direction or the other towards on the “open vs. closed” spectrum 8
  9. 9. 9
  10. 10. • Natural Rights philosophers – John Locke, Ayn Rand, The Founders • Utilitarian philosophers – John Stuart Mill (On Liberty), Herbert Spencer • “Austrian School” of Economics – Ludwig von Mises, F.A. Hayek, Murray Rothbard • Milton Freidman (Free to Choose) • Robert Nozick – argued for a minimalist state as a “utopia of utopias” • Thomas Sowell – critiqued The Vision of the Anointed • Richard Epstein – (Simple Rules for a Complex World) 10
  11. 11. • Ithiel de Sola Pool (Technologies of Freedom) • Alvin Toffler (The Third Wave, Future Shock) • George Gilder (Microcosm, Telecosm) • Peter Huber (Law & Disorder in Cyberspace) • Tom W. Bell • Eugene Volokh • Jonathan Emord (Freedom, Technology & the First Amendment) • Technology Liberation Front – the cyber- libertarian group blog since 2004 11
  12. 12. • Nicholas Negroponte (Being Digital) • John Perry Barlow (“Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace”) • David Post • Eric Goldman • H. Brian Holland 12
  13. 13. 13
  14. 14. • The opposite of cyber-libertarianism: cyber-choices should be guided by the State or an elite according to some amorphous “general will” or “public interest” • Distant influences of Plato, Rousseau & Marx • Cyber-collectivism comes in many flavors, however: • “Left”: focused on economic fairness, “neutrality,” and equality of outcomes • “Right”: controlling the Internet’s impact on culture or security • Not as philosophically coherent as cyber-libertarianism— which also comes in many flavors but shares a larger core of common agreement 14
  15. 15. • Leftist cyber-collectivists & the “information commons” or “digital commons” movement share belief that digital resources should be shared or commonly owned • We don’t object to commons, only to mandating them • Cyber-collectivists • Are generally not Marxists; few of them call for state ownership of the information means of production • Might better be thought of a “cyber-social Democrats” (European) or “Digital New Dealers” (American) • Advocate a generous role for law and regulation in many online matters, but do not typically resort to full-blown nationalization 15
  16. 16. • Lawrence Lessig (Code) • Tim Wu (Who Controls the Internet?) • Yochai Benkler (The Wealth of Networks) • Jonathan Zittrain (The Future of the Internet & How to Stop It) • David Bollier (Viral Spiral) • Harvard’s Berkman Center* • New America Foundation* • Public Knowledge* (*We are, of course, generalizing a bit here. Not everyone in these institutions is a cyber-collectivist and, again, there are many flavors of cyber-collectivism, just as there are many flavors of cyber-libertarianism.) 16
  17. 17. 17
  18. 18. • The First Amendment is of paramount importance and should apply equally to all speakers and media platforms • We favor parental empowerment and education, and industry self-regulation over censorship • “Household standards” should trump “community standards” & “public interest” regulatory mandates 18
  19. 19. • The real “Big Brother” problem is state surveillance, not private data collection • Privacy is a profoundly subjective condition • Regulations to “protect privacy” could have serious unintended consequences for freedom of speech and the growth of online content and commerce • User empowerment & industry self-regulation represent the superior way to address privacy concerns 19
  20. 20. • “Open access” regulation is nothing more than infrastructure socialism • Network operators should be free to own, operate and price their systems & services as they see fit, subject only to enforcement of their terms of service & other contracts with their users • New entry & innovation work better than regulating yesterday’s networks & technologies 20
  21. 21. • “Market power” & “code failures” are best dealt with by spontaneous evolution of markets & new entry, not bureaucratic micro-management of old technologies or market structures • Cyber-markets are evolutionary & dynamic • Disruptive innovation usually unseats incumbents • Regulation often creates, or tends to foster, most monopolies • Antitrust is often used as weapon by disgruntled marketplace competitors to hobble rivals 21
  22. 22. • No special taxes should be imposed on online services or Internet access • If the Net disrupts traditional tax bases, that should be seen as an opportunity to reform those tax systems • States shouldn’t be regulating the uniquely global medium of the Internet or imposing barriers to interstate commerce 22
  23. 23. • People should be free to do as they please with their money • We shouldn’t protect state-run lotteries and casinos • Internet gambling is likely impossible to shut down entirely anyway, given the uniquely global nature of the Internet 23
  24. 24. • Cyber-libertarians are deeply divided over IP issues (esp. copyright), reflecting a long-standing division among libertarians on these issues • Some believe IP rights are a natural extension of traditional property rights and/or a sensible way to incentivize scientific and artistic creativity • Others believe no one has a right to “property-tize” intangible creations or that copyright is simply industrial protectionism • There are many views in between 24
  25. 25. Please visit The Technology Liberation Front www.techliberation.com • The cyber-libertarian group public policy blog • 21 contributors • 4,500+ posts since 2004 • 16,000 unique monthly viewers 25
  26. 26. Adam Thierer is a Senior Fellow at The Progress & Freedom Foundation (PFF) & Director of PFF’s Center for Digital Media Freedom (CDMF). Thierer analyzes public policy developments that impact the economic and social aspects of the media industry, including related First Amendment issues. Prior to joining PFF in 2005, he was Director of Telecommunications Studies at the Cato Institute and a Fellow in Economic Policy at the Heritage Foundation. Berin Szoka is a PFF Senior Fellow & Director of PFF’s Center for Internet Freedom (CIF). Szoka studies the laws and regulations that govern cyberspace. Previously, he was an Associate in the Communications Practice Group at Latham and Watkins LLP, where he advised clients on regulations affecting the Internet and telecommunications industries. 26

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