A declaration to fight for an open Internet, to give netizens the freedom to opine, innovate, share ideas, and communicate with one another has been signed by about 100 organizations to launch a global campaign.
The signatories of the Save the Internet initiative includes a range from human rights groups such as Amnesty International and the American Civil Liberties Union; technology companies like Mozilla, and social media sites like reddit. They oppose what they see as encroaching threats to Internet freedom from bills such as Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act (PIPA) in the United States, and the multilateral Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA).
The signing of the declaration comes as the European Parliament is set to vote on ACTA, which is backed by the United States and major Hollywood studies, to crack down on intellectual property theft around the world. However, signs indicate it is likely European lawmakers will reject the measure. The final vote on ACTA is slated for Wednesday.
The open Internet lobby also managed to pressure U.S. Congress to back away from passing SOPA and PIPA, but activists warn that more similar proposals could follow.
Proponents of those bills argue that while intellectual property theft costs the entertainment and other industries billions of dollars a year, such measures will change very little how people use the Internet and social media sites.
Purpose of the Campaign
Josh Levy, Internet campaign director of Free Press, which runs the Save the Internet initiative, says the campaign targets everyday Internet users.
“The first step is to get as many people as possible behind this declaration. To get people talking about it in their living rooms, in the street or in a cafe,” he says.
According to Levy, Internet policy is at a critical pass.
“That is a conversation that has been taking place for years. With this declaration we are saying we are at a historic moment now. What we are doing is giving it some form and momentum. Everybody who is involved, understands the necessity of the open Internet,” he says.
The signatories of the initiative say they are not only fighting against legislation like SOPA or ACTA, but they are pushing for free Internet use as a basic human right.
The campaigners want individuals and organizations worldwide to sign on to the Declaration of Internet Freedom and its given principles: noncensorship; universal access and fast, affordable connections; openness such that people can freely connect and communicate; freedom to innovate without permission, punishment, or restriction; and the protection of users privacy.
The Free Press website had collected 24,270 signatures by Tuesday evening.
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