A declaration of interdependence

Today is the anniversary of the US Declaration of independence. If such thing had happened in internet times, it might have sounded like this:

When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to reassess the network bonds which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of connectedness and of intertwined interest entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the reassessment.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all internet traffic is created equal, that all internet users are endowed by the initial intent of the internet founders with certain unalienable rights, that among these are connectedness, equality, and the right to free speech. That to secure these rights, social norms are instituted among users, deriving their just powers from the consent of the community. That whenever any form of government or corporation becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to challenge it, and to institute new network rules, laying new foundations for a better, more open and more just network offering. Sound judgment may dictate that long established rules should not be changed lightly and hastily; and there have been many proofs that people are willing to give up universal access and freedom of expression for a better user experience than challenge large corporations and governments when they are overreaching online.

But when a long string of abuses, all intended to increase certain people’s control over the unruly internet, it is the people’s right, it is their duty, to openly challenge those attempts, and to provide new ways to safeguard an internet that works for everyone. Over the last decade, there has been a gradual decrease in the people’s hold on the network, and now may be the time to reassess our reliance on the internet and our willingness to all work together for the betterment of humanity. The history of the present corporations and governments is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations of network resources, all having in direct object the establishment of increased control over the network. To prove this, here are a few facts we submit as evidence.

They have refused to follow proper law, using innuendoes instead of law enforcement 

They have refused to give internet custodians the right to help internet people

They have refused to provide access unless it was to approved resources

They have made rules with little input from the community

They have seized servers without prior warning or subsequent explanations

They have supported over-reaching, repeatedly, in copyright lawsuits

They have refused, for a long time, to help correct some of those overreach

They have obstructed free speech, by refusing to enforce laws relating to it

They have made critical groups dependent on the will of one country

They have pushed for higher levels of control

They have spied on us

For protecting potential guilty parties from being sued

For cutting off online trade with all parts of the world

For imposing constraints without our consent

They are, at this time, working on more internet kill switches that may disconnect large swath of the population from the network

In ever stage, we have complained and blogged about it: our repeated tweets have been answered only by repeated injury. A governing model, where those that govern are thus marked by every act which may define tyranny, is unfit to those who care about the internet.

Nor have we been wanting in attention from the mainstream media. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by large corporate entities to extend an underserved control over internet resources. We have reminded them of the circumstances that led to the creation of an open internet. We have appealed to common sense and interest in the public good and we have asked them to help us keep the internet as open as ever. They too have been deaf to the voice of the internet populace. We must, therefore agree to the necessity to restate our dependence upon each others and hold enemies of an open internet, enemies in war, in peace friends.

We, therefore, the representatives of the open internet, in tweets and other status platforms assembled, appealing to all that is fair and good, do, in the name of all internet users, solemnly publish and declare, that this internet is, and of right ought to be free and independent of control; that it is absolved from control by corporate interests; and that, as a free internet, it is reliant on every user acting responsibly in sharing online resources. And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Anonymous and other activists, we mutually pledge to each other our share packets, our open hotspots, and our mutual interdependence.

Enjoy the 4th of July!

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