Internet "Bill of Rights" proposed by anti-SOPA lawmakers

By on June 11, 2012, 5:00 PM

Congress critter and California republican Darrell Issa is working on the first draft of what may eventually become the "Digital Bill of Rights" -- legislation which could possibly shape online freedoms and the expectations afforded to citizens of the Internet. Although very early in the process, Congressman Issa and Senator Wyden (D-OR) recently discussed the bill at the Personal Democracy Forum in New York.

Senator Wyden, a former anti-SOPA legislator, talked of the nearly ubiquitous ability for instant Internet communication and how it manages to cut out the middleman. Gone could be the days of navigating phone systems and sending snail mail to your representative when its already too late, an idea Washington still struggles with. We saw a taste of this with SOPA where millions of people became active to fight for their beliefs both for and against the controversial bill.

Ultimately, SOPA failed pass, but we've also had to contend with ACTA, CISPA, PIPA and other bills which often seem to take root with good intentions, but morph into something that sacrifices the current state of openness, protection and freedom we currently enjoy as Internet users..

"What the community did was create a fear", said Issa, referring to online dissenters who moved against SOPA. "Fear of being exposed is very powerful. No member [of congress] wants to be thought of as not caring about their constituency." he explained, touching on the power of Internet communication on today's politics.

The Digital Bill of Rights

  1. Freedom - digital citizens have a right to a free, uncensored internet
  2. Openness - digital citizens have a right to an open, unobstructed internet
  3. Equality - all digital citizens are created equal on the internet
  4. Participation - digital citizens have a right to peaceably participate where and how they choose on the internet
  5. Creativity - digital citizens have a right to create, grow and collaborate on the internet, and be held accountable for what they create
  6. Sharing - digital citizens have a right to freely share their ideas, lawful discoveries and opinions on the internet
  7. Accessibility - digital citizens have a right to access the internet equally, regardless of who they are or where they are
  8. Association - digital citizens have a right to freely associate on the internet
  9. Privacy - digital citizens have a right to privacy on the internet
  10. Property - digital citizens have a right to benefit from what they create, and be secure in their intellectual property on the internet

Source: keepthewebopen.com

The early draft, in its current form, gives broad suggestions on various facets of the web including freedom, privacy, property and openness. Congressman Issa is hoping to get some input on what a Digital Bill of Rights should look like. The above illustrates what he has thus far. User are encouraged to participate by sharing their ideas on Issa's website: keepthewebopen.com.




User Comments: 32

Got something to say? Post a comment
Scshadow said:

Sweet. Its what we need. Its simply unsustainable for the masses to always get up in arms everytime they try to sneak one through. They're going to win one day simply because its going to seem inevitable someday. Just stomp it all out now.

Nima304 said:

I like this idea. It'll stop horrifying legislation like CISPA, ACTA, SOPA, and PIPA from ever being passed.

Scshadow said:

I would like to clarify my last post. They can still pass something like this and create hidden loopholes that totally destroy the purpose but the idea is on point of what we need.

PinothyJ said:

Does anyone cringe at that image on this page of "We the People," sans comma...

3DCGMODELER 3DCGMODELER said:

"I would like to clarify my last post. They can still pass something like this and create hidden loopholes that totally destroy the purpose but the idea is on point of what we need."

~

hmmmm

~

"Does anyone cringe at that image on this page of "We the People,"

~

It Does not say "We The People", Oh there will be loop holes the size of Alaska... forsure

PinothyJ said:

Yes it does...

Guest said:

Cringe at the Constitution's preamble? Explain please.

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Does anyone cringe at that image on this page of "We the People," sans comma...

For me it was the flag used. That flag does not represent the world as a whole. There are some that may not support a concept when presented with a single nations flag. In a way I suppose the wording could also be seen as equally disturbing.

PinothyJ said:

Cringe at the Constitution's preamble? Explain please.

The problem is nothing to do with the flag but with the phrase "We the People" which is missing a comma after "we" which makes it incorrect...

Guest said:

citizens should be replaced with "individuals"

citizens are childs of the state all laws apply to that title

individuals are childs of god and all laws apply to that title

Doctor John Doctor John said:

Never mind PinothyJ, I understand (see how I used MY comma earlier!).

wiyosaya said:

Cringe at the Constitution's preamble? Explain please.

The problem is nothing to do with the flag but with the phrase "We the People" which is missing a comma after "we" which makes it incorrect...

It is correct as it is. Why? Because a comma after "We" would make "the people of the United States" an unnecessary clause. That particular clause is a necessary modifier of "We". As it is, the preamble is written as "We the people of the United States," - note the comma after "States". If there were a comma after "We" and after "States," then the sentence would have to be correct with out all that is in between those two commas. So, "We in order to form a more perfect union" Instead of "We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union,"

Have a look at an image of the original from the US Archives. There is no comma after "We" www.archives.gov/global-pages/larger-image.html?I=/historica
-docs/doc-content/images/constitution-l.jpg&c=/histori
al-docs/doc-content/images/constitution.caption.html

MilwaukeeMike said:

Stuff like this scares me. Assuming the govt has our best interest in mind is a huge mistake. They have their own constituents in mind, and the lobbyists who help pay for their campaigns. This 'Bill of right's in a joke. The internet is communication, how can you draw a circle around it and decide what's ok and not ok all in a single list. Digital citizens are created equal? So a country is the same as a person is the same as a computer who acts like a person?

The internet should be policed slowly and as issues arise, just like everything else. When the govt sticks their hands into something in an undefineable and obscure way, they end up restricting honest use and protecting criminals. Politicians have an endless ability to screw things up and accomplish exactly the opposite of what they intend.

How exactly like a democrat to try to make some more laws to protect us. He's going to guarantee freedom and privacy huh?

1 person liked this | davislane1 davislane1 said:

To me, this sounds like the government has wised up to the fact that marching a regulatory army to the doorsteps of their constituents isn't going to fly, so they've opted for the cloak-and-dagger approach: give the people what they want, structure it to the government's advantage.

"3. Equality - all digital citizens are created equal on the internet"

"7. Accessibility - digital citizens have a right to access the internet equally, regardless of who they are or where they are"

These two items right here are the government's primary doorways to major internet regulation. Once we start talking about internet in terms of rights (rather than a form of communication, which is already protected) we effectively open up Pandora's Box in the form of rights violations. Those violations inevitably lead to additional regulations and/or interventions to protect equality and accessibility, and suddenly you've got a government policed web.

"10. Property - digital citizens have a right to benefit from what they create, and be secure in their intellectual property on the internet"

Same deal here. ACTA & friends failed miserably in round one. Repackage copyrights legislation in a more human rights type package, on the other hand, and suddenly you're cooking with fire.

Guest said:

Number 9 and 10 are already in conflict with each other.

10 is scary in it's wording, and can be used as a constitutional backdoor to overriding 9's privacy rights.

It is in early stages, but I suspect most people would sign off on something titled "internet bill of rights" without even reading and thinking about it.

davislane1 davislane1 said:

It is in early stages, but I suspect most people would sign off on something titled "internet bill of rights" without even reading and thinking about it.

Exactly.

TJGeezer said:

How exactly like a democrat to try to make some more laws to protect us. He's going to guarantee freedom and privacy huh?

Yup, anything that tries to protect people from the unscrupulous and the greedy is doomed to fail, and those durned Democrats like Issa should leave well enough alone. Wait - didn't someone say Issa is a Republican? What the heck kind of Republican is HE, trying to help people?! He should be out passing laws to help corporations make their owners richer, like all the other Republicans do! /s

cmbjive said:

Digital citizens? What exactly is a "digital citizen"? The only Bill of Rights that should ever be respected is the one in the Constitution. Any other "Bill of Rights" that is going to protect consumers always end up doing more harm than good.

"He should be out passing laws to help corporations make their owners richer, like all the other Republicans do! /s"

Yeah! Like what Obama did when it invited PhrMa to the table to help draft Obamacare! Oh wait...

Guest said:

Whats wrong with the way it is now its been going strong for the normal user for years any the only reason to pass any type of bill is to help companies and governments have more control

MilwaukeeMike said:

How exactly like a democrat to try to make some more laws to protect us. He's going to guarantee freedom and privacy huh?

Yup, anything that tries to protect people from the unscrupulous and the greedy is doomed to fail, and those durned Democrats like Issa should leave well enough alone. Wait - didn't someone say Issa is a Republican? What the heck kind of Republican is HE, trying to help people?! He should be out passing laws to help corporations make their owners richer, like all the other Republicans do! /s

Wyden was the Democrat, Issa is a republican. And it doesn't invalidate my point. The intention of the bill doesn't make it doomed to fail, the fact that the govt is trying to write a few simple rules to govern something extremely complicated makes it doomed to fail. Politicians' goal is too look good, not do good. Look at No Child Left Behind. Almost everyone voted for it, but they left out huge details that made it worthless.

They will screw it up because how well it works is a distant 2nd to how good it looks when it passes.

PinothyJ said:

Cringe at the Constitution's preamble? Explain please.

The problem is nothing to do with the flag but with the phrase "We the People" which is missing a comma after "we" which makes it incorrect...

It is correct as it is. Why? Because a comma after "We" would make "the people of the United States" an unnecessary clause. That particular clause is a necessary modifier of "We". As it is, the preamble is written as "We the people of the United States," - note the comma after "States". If there were a comma after "We" and after "States," then the sentence would have to be correct with out all that is in between those two commas. So, "We in order to form a more perfect union" Instead of "We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union,"

Have a look at an image of the original from the US Archives. There is no comma after "We" www.archives.gov/global-pages/larger-image.html?I=/historica
-docs/doc-content/images/constitution-l.jpg&c=/histori
al-docs/doc-content/images/constitution.caption.html

You have it wrong. The comma in the middle of the unnecessary clause has thrown you -- "...the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union..." -- and is the reason that it appears to be even more incorrect with the extra comma.

Hmmmm...

Guest said:

It is correct as it is. Why? Because a comma after "We" would make "the people of the United States" an unnecessary clause. That particular clause is a necessary modifier of "We". As it is, the preamble is written as "We the people of the United States," - note the comma after "States". If there were a comma after "We" and after "States," then the sentence would have to be correct with out all that is in between those two commas. So, "We in order to form a more perfect union" Instead of "We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union,"

Wrong! There should be a comma, you're confused!

Guest said:

What a load of meaningless bombastic rubbish. "Citizens are created as equal" - in what sense? In sense of rights or in sense of abilities? The connection speed is different, depending on your connection type, ISP, chosen plan, etc. Information accessibility is different, depending on the security admittance. Employees of ISPs or Facebook or whatever have access to information other users don't. Some Internet resources are forcefully localized, so depending on which country you are, you see different content or different language or have different prices and can't change it unless you cheat with proxies (I.e. Steam, Apple Store). Certain software that might be required to access certain content is not available to certain countries. Just like people are not created as equal, nor treated as equal in reality, we are not equal on the Internet, and to create equality of Internet law, we would first need to create a Worldwide law base that would be the same in all countries. Unless dear Americans again forget about the 95% of the planet's population and only talk about themselves again.

Tygerstrike said:

The whole proposed bill has so many loop holes I cant even begin to list/explain them all. The one that scares me the most is #5. What if something you have created does harm when that was not the intended result? Does that mean Uncle Sam gets to slap silver bracellets on you?

Guest said:

no. 9 is in contradiction of what and why people use the internet in the first place.

--unless thats there way of phrasing "you have the right to use the internet without being wire tapped".

in the end regulating the intern is rediculus in concept and a waste of efforts and resources to enforce. the internet is the new tv and I'll watch what ever the hell I want to watch, downloading and uploading are irrelevant to that purpose, since now everyone is essentially able to make a "channel" people must now not compete just against a select few, but against everyone." the sooner people accept that fact, then they can processed to create a means to adapt it in a productive manner.

wiyosaya said:

You have it wrong. The comma in the middle of the unnecessary clause has thrown you -- "...the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union..." -- and is the reason that it appears to be even more incorrect with the extra comma.

Hmmmm...

Sorry, I disagree. However, your assertion that there should be a comma after "We" has no basis in historical fact. The original document does not have a comma. Have a look at page one of the historical document found here - [link]

However, feel free to suggest to the US Archives that the English, more specifically, the punctuation, in the original constitution is incorrect and that the historical document should be changed.

PinothyJ said:

Sorry, I disagree. However, your assertion that there should be a comma after "We" has no basis in historical fact. The original document does not have a comma. Have a look at page one of the historical document found here - [link]

However, feel free to suggest to the US Archives that the English, more specifically, the punctuation, in the original constitution is incorrect and that the historical document should be changed.

What does that even mean: "no basis in historical fact." It is irreverent whether it is in the original document as I was never disputing that, I AM saying that the absence of the comma makes that sentence grammatically incorrect.

I just want to make sure that you are aware that the English language existed for centuries before the Yanks decided to have a tanty and make a mess of all of it.

At the end of the day it is incorrect and all Americans should be embarrassed...

wiyosaya said:

What does that even mean: "no basis in historical fact." It is irreverent whether it is in the original document as I was never disputing that, I AM saying that the absence of the comma makes that sentence grammatically incorrect.

I just want to make sure that you are aware that the English language existed for centuries before the Yanks decided to have a tanty and make a mess of all of it.

At the end of the day it is incorrect and all Americans should be embarrassed...

So your true reason comes out.

Do yourself a favor before you embarrass yourself any more. Put the entire preamble of the constitution into a grammar checker and run a check on it. My apologies, but you will find grammar checkers do not flag it as incorrect, except, of course, for the British spelling of defence since it sounds like you are not a US citizen.

So, just in case you still are unsure, here is the entire preamble -

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

There's nothing wrong with the punctuation, and, might I remind you, it was written by a BRIT!

PinothyJ said:

So your true reason comes out.

Do yourself a favor before you embarrass yourself any more. Put the entire preamble of the constitution into a grammar checker and run a check on it. My apologies, but you will find grammar checkers do not flag it as incorrect, except, of course, for the British spelling of defence since it sounds like you are not a US citizen.

So, just in case you still are unsure, here is the entire preamble -

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

There's nothing wrong with the punctuation, and, might I remind you, it was written by a BRIT!

You have to be kidding me -_-. "the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union" is an appositive, parenthetical phrase and thus requires a comma on each end to signify as such (except where there would be a conflict of punctuation).

Honestly...

wiyosaya said:

You have to be kidding me -_-. "the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union" is an appositive, parenthetical phrase and thus requires a comma on each end to signify as such (except where there would be a conflict of punctuation).

Honestly...

I'm not arguing this with you. I am sorry that you are unable to recognize a list of items that are all properly separated by commas. If you really want to learn what is disputed as potentially improper English, search the net for it, its there. However, this "appositive" argument is not. You have a good sense that there is something wrong, however, the consensus is that the "appositive" argument is not what is wrong. But feel free, if it makes you feel better, to continue to profess your English mastership if you'd like. I'm through discussing this with you.

Perhaps if those Birts who have not yet gotten over the fact that the US is no longer a British colony got over the fact that the US is no longer a British colony (it has been 230+ years now, come on, and forget you not, the US saved the Brits A$$ in WWII) they would also figure out that there are some masters of the English language that live in the US. And besides, it was written by people who were British citizens (or subjects, your choice of words) at the time. A lot of things have come out of the US including the computer you are using to profess that you are a master of the English language. Had the US remained a British colony, the world might still be groveling at the feet of "kings". Is that what you would prefer to where the world is now?

PinothyJ said:

I'm not arguing this with you. I am sorry that you are unable to recognize a list of items that are all properly separated by commas. If you really want to learn what is disputed as potentially improper English, search the net for it, its there. However, this "appositive" argument is not. You have a good sense that there is something wrong, however, the consensus is that the "appositive" argument is not what is wrong. But feel free, if it makes you feel better, to continue to profess your English mastership if you'd like. I'm through discussing this with you.

Perhaps if those Birts who have not yet gotten over the fact that the US is no longer a British colony got over the fact that the US is no longer a British colony (it has been 230+ years now, come on, and forget you not, the US saved the Brits A$$ in WWII) they would also figure out that there are some masters of the English language that live in the US. And besides, it was written by people who were British citizens (or subjects, your choice of words) at the time. A lot of things have come out of the US including the computer you are using to profess that you are a master of the English language. Had the US remained a British colony, the world might still be groveling at the feet of "kings". Is that what you would prefer to where the world is now?

If you are talking about the Germans than you a wildly mistaken as it was Stalin who is responsible for their cut down in power, not the US (also, Godwin's law).

You are wrong: unless you can prove "We the People of the United States" is in ANY way correct than you have no case. The list you speak of (how is that even relevant?) starts AFTER the section if the sentence in question.

Also, your final paragraph is elitist, ignorant and downright offensive, and does nothing to illustrates your point (if anything, it paints a picture of your polarisation)...

Load all comments...

Add New Comment

TechSpot Members
Login or sign up for free,
it takes about 30 seconds.
You may also...
Get complete access to the TechSpot community. Join thousands of technology enthusiasts that contribute and share knowledge in our forum. Get a private inbox, upload your own photo gallery and more.