Legislators aren't the only ones who can whip together demands for digital equality. A couple of weeks ago, a pair of legislators that were instrumental in stopping SOPA and PIPA released a "Digital Bill of Rights," looking for feedback from you and me. Today, several of the organizations that spearheaded the SOPA/PIPA opposition -- including the EFF, Access Now and Free Press -- launched a "Declaration of Internet Freedom" of their own, and they're looking for both signatures and feedback for the petition.
If you're interested, head over to the Declaration of Internet Freedom website for full information on how to sign the petition, or how to leave feedback and interact with the declaration. Here's the full text as it is now:
We stand for a free and open Internet.
We support transparent and participatory processes for making Internet policy and the establishment of five basic principles:
Expression: Don't censor the Internet.
Access: Promote universal access to fast and affordable networks.
Openness: Keep the Internet an open network where everyone is free to connect, communicate, write, read, watch, speak, listen, learn, create and innovate.
Innovation: Protect the freedom to innovate and create without permission. Don’t block new technologies, and don’t punish innovators for their users' actions.
Privacy: Protect privacy and defend everyone’s ability to control how their data and devices are used.
If SOPA and PIPA showed us anything, it's that the Internet will be regulated, and we're in danger of being bled to death by a thousand over-reaching cuts if an overarching credo doesn't protect user rights online.
Are broad, vague declarations like this (or the legislators' Digital Rights bill) the way to go, or would tighter language be better? Will these measures amount to anything in any case? A large part of the anti-SOPA movement's success was its widespread support, and this is the second similar "Bill of Rights"-type thing we've seen in a week from different digital rights supporters. Will a splintered front neutralize the message?