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  • Gerrit Eicker 07:00 on 19. September 2012 Permalink
    Tags: , , , Freedom, , , , , ,   

    Inspiring Freedom-enhancing Practices 

    How do we inspire freedomenhancing practices? Through regulation? An organised global movement? http://eicker.at/CR

  • Gerrit Eicker 07:00 on 27. August 2012 Permalink
    Tags: , Bottlenecks, , , Freedom, , , , ,   

    Routing Around Bottlenecks 

    Will people find ways to route around bottlenecks or innovate new systems that foster rights and freedom? http://eicker.at/CR

  • Gerrit Eicker 07:00 on 24. August 2012 Permalink
    Tags: , , , Free Flow of Information, Freedom, , , , ,   

    Free Flow of Information? 

    Will Internet builders continue to push for free flow of information? http://eicker.at/CR

  • Gerrit Eicker 14:07 on 22. March 2012 Permalink
    Tags: , Freedom, , , , , , , ,   

    Save the Web! 

    Louis: I killed the Internet; http://j.mp/GKD5eR RWW: How to save it; http://j.mp/GJdJ2K #Web http://eicker.at/TheWeb

  • Gerrit Eicker 19:17 on 27. February 2012 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , , Freedom, , , , , Indecency, , , , , , , , , Pornography, Predators, , , , , ,   

    Net Control 

    Jarvis: We don’t need no regulation. We don’t need no thought control. – Leave our net alone! http://eicker.at/NetControl

    • Gerrit Eicker 19:17 on 27. February 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Jarvis: “The internet’s not broken. – So then why are there so many attempts to regulate it? Under the guises of piracy, privacy, pornography, predators, indecency, and security, not to mention censorship, tyranny, and civilization, governments from the U.S. to France to Germany to China to Iran to Canada – as well as the European Union and the United Nations – are trying to exert control over the internet. – Why? Is it not working? Is it presenting some new danger to society? Is it fundamentally operating any differently today than it was five or ten years ago? No, no, and no…

        We don’t need no regulation.
        We dont need no thought control
        No dark sarcasm in the network
        Government: Leave our net alone
        Hey! Government! Leave our net alone!
        All in all it’s just another brick in the wall.
        All in all you’re just another brick in the wall.

      The Internet and Web are, need, and will stay open – this gorgeous discussion proves it once again; http://eicker.at/OpenWeb

      The Web goes dark on January 18, 2012, protesting #SOPA/#PIPA: Wikipedia, BoingBoing, many more; http://eicker.at/J18 #J18

      White House: Combating Online Piracy while Protecting an Open and Innovative Internet; http://eicker.at/PiracyInternet #SOPA

      A UN report declared Internet access a human right last summer: Cerf argues why it’s not; http://eicker.at/InternetHumanRight

      Petri on Judiciary Committee’s SOPA hearings: I just want the nightmare to be over; http://eicker.at/SOPAnightmare

      Internet censorship made in the USA: SOPA and PIPA are a major attack on Internet freedom; http://eicker.at/InternetCensorship

  • Gerrit Eicker 15:17 on 8. February 2012 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , Commons, , , Freedom, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Web Standard,   

    The Open Web 

    The Internet and Web are, need, and will stay openthis gorgeous discussion proves it once again; http://eicker.at/OpenWeb

    • Gerrit Eicker 15:17 on 8. February 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Time: “Is Google In Danger of Being Shut Out of the Changing Internet? – The upcoming IPO of Facebook, the flak surrounding Twitter’s decision to censor some tweets, and Google’s weaker-than-expected 4th-quarter earnings all point to one of the big events of our times: The crazy, chaotic, idealistic days of the Internet are ending. … The old Internet on which Google has thrived is still there, of course, but like the wilderness it is shrinking. … The danger to Google, in other words, is that as social networking, smartphones and tablets increasingly come to dominate the Internet, Google’s chance to earn advertising revenues from searching will shrink along with its influence. … Don’t get me wrong: Google is still a force, just as Microsoft, Intel and IBM are. But they are no longer at the epicentre of the zeitgeist. Like Microsoft before it, Google can fight the good fight on many different fronts. Whether it can ever find an engine of growth capable of supplanting its core business is another question.”

      Battelle: “It’s Not Wether Google’s Threatened. It’s Asking Ourselves: What Commons Do We Wish For? – If Facebook’s IPO filing does anything besides mint a lot of millionaires, it will be to shine a rather unsettling light on a fact most of us would rather not acknowledge: The web as we know it is rather like our polar ice caps: under severe, long-term attack by forces of our own creation. … We lose a commons, an ecosystem, a ‘tangled bank’ where serendipity, dirt, and iterative trial and error drive open innovation. … What kind of a world do we want to live in? As we increasingly leverage our lives through the world of digital platforms, what are the values we wish to hold in common? … No gatekeepers. The web is decentralized. Anyone can start a web site. … An ethos of the commons. The web developed over time under an ethos of community development, and most of its core software and protocols are royalty free or open source (or both). … No preset rules about how data is used. If one site collects information from or about a user of its site, that site has the right to do other things with that data… Neutrality. No one site on the web is any more or less accessible than any other site. If it’s on the web, you can find it and visit it. … Interoperability. Sites on the web share common protocols and principles, and determine independently how to work with each other. There is no centralized authority which decides who can work with who, in what way. … So, does that mean the Internet is going to become a series of walled gardens, each subject to the whims of that garden’s liege? – I don’t think so. Scroll up and look at that set of values again. I see absolutely no reason why they can not and should not be applied to how we live our lives inside the worlds of Apple, Facebook, Amazon, and the countless apps we have come to depend upon. … I believe in the open market of ideas, of companies and products and services which identify the problems I’ve outlined above, and begin to address them through innovative new approaches that solve for them. I believe in the Internet. Always have, and always will.

      Winer: “I don’t love Google but… John Battelle is right. Google defined the web that we like, and the web we like defined Google. Having Google break the contract is not just bad for Google, it’s bad for the web. – Two take-aways from this: 1. We should be more careful about who we get in bed with next time. 2. We probably should help Google survive, but only to the extent that they support the open web that we love.

      Scoble: “It’s too late for Dave Winer and John Battelle to save the common web – The lesson today, four years later, is that the common web is in grave threat, not just from Facebook’s data roach motel but from Apple’s and Amazon’s and, now, Google. … Now do you get why I really don’t care anymore? The time for a major fight was four years ago. – I understood then what was at stake. – Today? It’s too late. My wife is a great example of why: she’s addicted to Facebook and Zynga and her iPhone apps. – It’s too late to save the common web. It’s why, for the past year, I’ve given up and have put most of my blogging into Google+. I should have been spending that effort on the web commons and on RSS but it’s too late. … I’m not going back to the open web. Why? The juice isn’t there. … What’s Dave Winer’s answer? He deleted his Facebook account and is working hard to try to get people to adopt RSS again. Sorry, Dave, but Twitter is a better place to get tech news. … So, cry me a river. I’m a user. I tried to stick up for the common web in 2008. Where was the protest then? I was called an ‘edge case’ and someone who should be ignored. … Today? No, don’t put me on stage at conferences. Get regular people, like my wife, who could tell you why they don’t like the open web and, why, even, they are scared of it. … John, where were you? At least Dave has been consistently trying to keep us putting content on blogs and on RSS, which ARE the open common web. It’s just that it’s too late. We’re firmly locked back in the trunk and the day for blowing open the trunk has come and gone.

      Winer: “Scoble: I’ll go down with the shipThen I saw the web. It meant everything to me, because now there was no Apple in my way telling me I couldn’t make programming tools because that’s something they had an exclusive on. I was able to make web content tools, and evolve them, and get them to users, and learn from our experiences, without the supervision of any corporate guys, who see our communities as nothing more than a business model. – So Scoble, you can go enjoy whatever it is you like about Facebook. I can’t imagine what that might be. I don’t use it because that would be like going back to the system that didn’t work. I’d rather work for a very small minority of free users, than try to be an approved vendor in a world controlled by a bunch of suits. For me that’s the end. I’d rather go make pottery in Italy or Slovenia. … To me Facebook already feels over. I really don’t feel like I’m missing anything. Look at it this way. There’s lots of stuff going on right now that I’m not part of. That’s the way it goes. Me and Facebook are over. It’s going to stay that way. And if I’m on a ship that’s sinking, well I’ve had a good run, and I can afford to go down with the ship, along with people who share my values. It’s a cause, I’ve discovered, that’s worth giving something up for.”

      Boyd: “Facebook is the new AOL, despite the market cap. But it’s headed for a hard landing for other reasons than Winer is pushing. Facebook will fail because of the imminent rise of social operating systems – future versions of iOS, Mac OS X, and Android – which will break the Facebook monolith to bits.”

      Dyson: “Is the Open Web Doomed? Open Your Eyes and Relax – I’m wading into an argument that I think may be overblown. With Facebook going public and Google threatened by apps and closed services such as FB, is the open web doomed? You might think so after reading the dueling blog posts of John Battelle, Robert Scoble and Dave Winer in the past few days. But things are a bit more complicated. … So what’s the difference between paternalism and our duty to save people from tyrants or from companies whose privacy statements are incomprehensible? If people are happy with Facebook, why should we disturb them? If the Iraqis weren’t going to topple Saddam Hussein, what right – or obligation – did we outsiders have to do so? … Of course, we can also be part of the backlash…I’m not saying don’t be part of the backlash; I’m just suggesting that the backlash will work – abetted by the march of technology and user neophilia. … Right now, we’re moving slowly from open data and APIs and standards, to a world of Facebook and apps. We’re likely to see abandonment of the DNS by consumers both because of those apps, and a tragedy of the commons where new Top-Level Domain names (.whatevers and .brands) confuse users and lead to more use of the search box or links within apps. … I don’t actually think we’re facing a world of no choices. In fact, we all have many choices … and it’s up to us to make them. Yes, many people make choices I despise, but this is the world of the long tail. Of course, the short, fat front is always more popular; it all gets homogenized and each individual gets either one central broadcast, or something so tailored he never learns anything new, as in Eli Pariser’s filter bubble… That’s exactly when some fearless entrepreneur will come along with something wild and crazy that will totally dominate everything 10 years later.”

  • Gerrit Eicker 07:42 on 30. January 2012 Permalink
    Tags: , , Cybercrime, , Denmark, , , , , Freedom, , , , , , , , , , , Slovenia, , , , , , , , ,   

    Internet Freedom vs. Government 

    TC: Twitter’s new policies demonstrate the complicated relationship between Internet freedom and government; http://eicker.at/2o

  • Gerrit Eicker 11:35 on 17. January 2012 Permalink
    Tags: , , , Blackout, , , , , Dark, Freedom, , , , , , January 18, , , , , , , , , Protest, , , , , SOPA Blackout, SOPA Strike, , , ,   

    Dark on January 18, 2012 

    The Web goes dark on January 18, 2012, protesting #SOPA/#PIPA: Wikipedia, BoingBoing, many more; http://eicker.at/J18 #J18

    • Gerrit Eicker 11:35 on 17. January 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Wikipedia: “Today, the Wikipedia community announced its decision to black out the English-language Wikipedia for 24 hours, worldwide, beginning at 05:00 UTC on Wednesday, January 18 (you can read the statement from the Wikimedia Foundation here). The blackout is a protest against proposed legislation in the United States – the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the U.S. House of Representatives, and the Protect IP Act (PIPA) in the U.S. Senate – that, if passed, would seriously damage the free and open Internet, including Wikipedia. … My hope is that when Wikipedia shuts down on January 18, people will understand that we’re doing it for our readers. We support everyone’s right to freedom of thought and freedom of expression. We think everyone should have access to educational material on a wide range of subjects, even if they can’t pay for it. We believe in a free and open Internet where information can be shared without impediment. We believe that new proposed laws like SOPA – and PIPA, and other similar laws under discussion inside and outside the United States – don’t advance the interests of the general public. You can read a very good list of reasons to oppose SOPA and PIPA here, from the Electronic Frontier Foundation. … On January 18, we hope you’ll agree with us, and will do what you can to make your own voice heard.

      BoingBoing: “On January 18, Boing Boing will join Reddit and other sites around the Internet in ‘going dark’ to oppose SOPA and PIPA, the pending US legislation that creates a punishing Internet censorship regime and exports it to the rest of the world. Boing Boing could never co-exist with a SOPA world: we could not ever link to another website unless we were sure that no links to anything that infringes copyright appeared on that site. So in order to link to a URL on LiveJournal or WordPress or Twitter or Blogspot, we’d have to first confirm that no one had ever made an infringing link, anywhere on that site. Making one link would require checking millions (even tens of millions) of pages, just to be sure that we weren’t in some way impinging on the ability of five Hollywood studios, four multinational record labels, and six global publishers to maximize their profits.”

      SOPA Strike: “On January 18th, 2012 the internet is going on strike to stop the web censorship bills in Congress! Now is our moment – we need you to do everything you can, whether you have a website or not. … January 18th is going to be amazing. Sites are striking in all different ways, but they are united by this: do the biggest thing you possibly can, and drive contacts to Congress. Put this on your site or automate it by putting this JS into your header, which will start the blackout at 8AM EST and end at 8PM EST. … On Jan 24th, Congress will vote to pass internet censorship in the Senate, even though the vast majority of Americans are opposed. We need to kill the bill – PIPA in the Senate and SOPA in the House – to protect our rights to free speech, privacy, and prosperity. We need internet companies to follow Reddit’s lead and stand up for the web, as we internet users are doing every day.

      TC: “Wikipedia’s Jimmy Wales wanted to send a ‘big message’ to the U.S. government regarding the two heinous internet censorship bills currently being considered, and after a brief period of debate the world’s encyclopedia will soon do just that. – The Wikipedia founder announced on Twitter today that starting at midnight on Wednesday, January 18, the English language version of the world’s encyclopedia will go dark for 24 hours in protest of SOPA and PIPA. With their commitment confirmed, Wikipedia will be joining a slew of websites and companies that will suspend their operations for one day in an effort raise awareness around the two bills. … Though the event is meant to raise public awareness over two critical pieces of legislation, Wales still took a moment to offer a bit of sage advice for students heading back to school: ‘Student warning! Do your homework early. Wikipedia protesting bad law on Wednesday!’

  • Gerrit Eicker 12:19 on 16. January 2012 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , Freedom, , , , , , , , , , Online Protection and Digital ENforcement Act, , , , , , , , , ,   

    Online Piracy and an Open Internet 

    White House: Combating Online Piracy while Protecting an Open and Innovative Internet; http://eicker.at/PiracyInternet #SOPA

    • Gerrit Eicker 12:20 on 16. January 2012 Permalink | Reply

      White House, Victoria Espinel, Aneesh Chopra, and Howard Schmidt: “Right now, Congress is debating a few pieces of legislation concerning the very real issue of online piracy, including the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), the PROTECT IP Act and the Online Protection and Digital ENforcement Act (OPEN). We want to take this opportunity to tell you what the Administration will support – and what we will not support. … Any effort to combat online piracy must guard against the risk of online censorship of lawful activity and must not inhibit innovation by our dynamic businesses large and small. Across the globe, the openness of the Internet is increasingly central to innovation in business, government, and society and it must be protected. … We must avoid creating new cybersecurity risks or disrupting the underlying architecture of the Internet. Proposed laws must not tamper with the technical architecture of the Internet through manipulation of the Domain Name System (DNS), a foundation of Internet security. … Let us be clear – online piracy is a real problem that harms the American economy, and threatens jobs for significant numbers of middle class workers and hurts some of our nation’s most creative and innovative companies and entrepreneurs. … That is why the Administration calls on all sides to work together to pass sound legislation this year that provides prosecutors and rights holders new legal tools to combat online piracy originating beyond U.S. borders while staying true to the principles outlined above in this response. … This is not just a matter for legislation. We expect and encourage all private parties, including both content creators and Internet platform providers working together, to adopt voluntary measures and best practices to reduce online piracy.”

      RWW: “In a statement on behalf of the Obama administration this morning, a trio of senior officials including the nation’s Chief Technology Officer made clear that any anti-piracy legislation passing the President’s desk would not create risks of censorship, nor would it condone any alterations to the Internet’s domain name system that could invite security dangers. … That President Obama himself has not made a statement is probably intended to help him preserve his official position as against online piracy. However, this recommendation will very likely be heeded, and this move may slow, if not halt, any legislative activity on this matter for the remainder of this term in the Senate. In the House, which remains under Republican control, the SOPA bill (minus the court order provision that constituted its main enforcement provision) may still be voted on, but the chances of it facing reconciliation with a Senate version of the same bill are now extremely minimal.”

      ATD: “Obama: Don’t Worry Internet, I Got Your Back on That SOPA ThingToday it became clear that SOPA, at least in its current form, will never get that far. Word came from the White House today that the administration, while sympathetic to the cause of curbing online piracy, will support neither the SOPA bill nor its companion bill – known as PIPA – in the Senate. … Piracy is bad, but approaches like SOPA are bad solutions that would potentially hurt the free-flowing, vibrant Internet we’ve all come to rely on for so many things. … Somehow, I find it encouraging that opposing SOPA – or at least calling for changes to it – was the issue on which Obama and Cantor, who can’t seem to agree on anything, found they had some room for common ground. Could this signify a badly needed thaw in bipartisan relations in Washington?

      VB: “In other words, the White House seems intent on striking a balance between two competing constituencies, Hollywood and Silicon Valley. Both of them have supported Obama, and they have very opposed interests. Big media companies, including big record companies and Hollywood film studios, want a hardline to protect copyright, so that they can make more money from their content, and have supported both the House and the Senate Bills. Tech companies such as Google, Facebook, Yahoo and others, however, oppose SOPA legislation, warning in a Nov. 15 letter that it would force new burdensome mandates on law-abiding technology companies…

      TC: “Support in Washington for the SOPA anti-piracy bill in Congress (and its Senate equivalent, PIPA), is waning. After weeks of mounting uproar online, Congressional leaders started backpedaling last week and the Obama Administration weighed in on Saturday in response to online petitions to stop the bills. The White House issued a clear rejection of some of the main principles of SOPA. – While the White House supports the major goal of the bills to stop international online piracy, the growing chorus of complaints about the ham-fisted way the law is going to be implemented may finally be acting a s a counterweight to all the media-company lobbying which is trying to push the bills through. … But it still is not clear how the objectives of the bills can be achieved without causing damage to the Internet. Congress should come up with a different mechanism for going after foreign pirate sites or else kill the bills entirely. – SOPA supporters may be rethinking their positions, but they have not retreated entirely. Online SOPA opponents shouldn’t be doing any victory dances just yet.

      TC: “What is Internet freedom? The United States government has an ‘Internet freedom’ agenda, complete with speeches by the Secretary of State and millions of dollars in program funding. A key United Nations official last year issued a major report emphasizing the right of all individuals freely to use the Internet. Taking a different tack, Vint Cerf, one of the Internet’s founding fathers and ‘Chief Internet Evangelist’ at Google, recently argued in the New York Times that Internet access is not a human right. And Devin Coldewey parsed the debate in TechCrunch, noting that the Internet is an enabler of rights, not a right unto itself. … Government officials and their private sector counterparts have a key role to play in all of this. The United States should be in the lead in formulating acceptable international definitions of Internet freedom, aggression, and cyber security that respect widely-recognized human rights. … Even some of America’s closest democratic friends have views of Internet freedom that are more restrictive than those widely held in the United States. Witness recent attempts by the government of India to have key Internet companies remove objectionable content or restrictions in Europe on online speech that insults population groups. But the effort begins with getting straight precisely what we mean by ‘Internet freedom.’ The idea – and the reality – is too important to muddle.

  • Gerrit Eicker 11:36 on 6. January 2012 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , Freedom, , , , , , , , Internet Access, , , , , , , , , , , , , , UN, Universal Service, Universal Service Policy,   

    Internet Access: a Human Right? 

    A UN report declared Internet access a human right last summer: Cerf argues why it’s not; http://eicker.at/InternetHumanRight

    • Gerrit Eicker 11:36 on 6. January 2012 Permalink | Reply

      UN: “Report of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression – This report explores key trends and challenges to the right of all individuals to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds through the Internet. The Special Rapporteur underscores the unique and transformative nature of the Internet not only to enable individuals to exercise their right to freedom of opinion and expression, but also a range of other human rights, and to promote the progress of society as a whole. Chapter III of the report underlines the applicability of international human rights norms and standards on the right to freedom of opinion and expression to the Internet as a communication medium, and sets out the exceptional circumstances under which the dissemination of certain types of information may be restricted. Chapters IV and V address two dimensions of Internet access respectively: (a) access to content; and (b) access to the physical and technical infrastructure required to access the Internet in the first place. More specifically, chapter IV outlines some of the ways in which States are increasingly censoring information online, namely through: arbitrary blocking or filtering of content; criminalization of legitimate expression; imposition of intermediary liability; disconnecting users from Internet access, including on the basis of intellectual property rights law; cyber-attacks; and inadequate protection of the right to privacy and data protection. Chapter V addresses the issue of universal access to the Internet. The Special Rapporteur intends to explore this topic further in his future report to the General Assembly. Chapter VI contains the Special Rapporteur’s conclusions and recommendations concerning the main subjects of the report.”

      Wired: “U.N. Report Declares Internet Access a Human Right – A United Nations report said Friday that disconnecting people from the internet is a human rights violation and against international law. – The report railed against France and the United Kingdom, which have passed laws to remove accused copyright scofflaws from the internet. It also protested blocking internet access to quell political unrest… The report, by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression, comes the same day an internet-monitoring firm detected that two thirds of Syria’s internet access has abruptly gone dark, in what is likely a government response to unrest in that country.”

      Cerf, NYT: “Internet Access Is Not a Human Right – It is no surprise, then, that the protests have raised questions about whether Internet access is or should be a civil or human right. … In June, citing the uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa, a report by the United Nations’ special rapporteur went so far as to declare that the Internet had ‘become an indispensable tool for realizing a range of human rights.’ … But that argument, however well meaning, misses a larger point: technology is an enabler of rights, not a right itself. There is a high bar for something to be considered a human right. Loosely put, it must be among the things we as humans need in order to lead healthy, meaningful lives, like freedom from torture or freedom of conscience. It is a mistake to place any particular technology in this exalted category, since over time we will end up valuing the wrong things. … Indeed, even the United Nations report, which was widely hailed as declaring Internet access a human right, acknowledged that the Internet was valuable as a means to an end, not as an end in itself. … While the United States has never decreed that everyone has a ‘right’ to a telephone, we have come close to this with the notion of ‘universal service’… Improving the Internet is just one means, albeit an important one, by which to improve the human condition. It must be done with an appreciation for the civil and human rights that deserve protection – without pretending that access itself is such a right.

      GigaOM: “Cerf’s position is somewhat surprising because, as even he acknowledges in his piece for the NYT, the events of the ‘Arab Spring’ in 2011… Cerf is also the ‘chief Internet evangelist’ at Google, so it seems a little odd he would be downplaying the need for widespread internet access and the benefits that it brings to society. … In a nutshell, Cerf’s argument seems to be that if we define Internet access itself as a right, we are placing the focus on the wrong thing. The ‘Net, he says, is just a technological tool that enables us to exercise other fundamental rights, such as the right to free speech or access to information – and rights should not be awarded to tools, but to the ends that they enable us to reach. … The Internet is a fundamental method of communication and connection, and is becoming more fundamental all the time, as we’ve seen in the Middle East and elsewhere. Seeing it as a right is an important step towards making it available to as many people as possible.

      TL: “As I noted in my earlier essay, the best universal service policy is marketplace competition. When we get the basic framework right – low taxes, property rights, contractual enforcement, anti-fraud standards, etc. – competition generally takes care of the rest. But competition often doesn’t develop – or is sometimes prohibited outright – in sectors or for networks that are declared ‘essential’ facilities or technological entitlements. … So, while I appreciate and agree with Cerf’s humorous point that ‘Today, if I were granted a right to have a horse, I’m not sure where I would put it,’ the more interesting question is this: If government would have decreed long ago that everyone had a right to a horse, would that have meant everyone actually got one? … These are the sort of questions rarely asked initially in discussions about proposals to convert technologies or networks into birthright entitlements. Eventually, however, they become inescapable problems that every entitlement system must grapple with. When we discuss the wisdom of classifying the Internet or broadband as a birthright entitlement, we should require advocates to provide us with some answers to such questions. Kudos to Vint Cerf for helping us get that conversation going in a serious way.

      TC: “So, is the internet a human right? It is our best and most effective way of achieving a universal freedom of expression, and it should be treated as such. But to enshrine it, as others have said, as a human right when it is in fact merely a powerful enabler thereof, is an unnecessary step. Laws and regulations, and things like UN guidelines, should be aimed at enshrining rights in their pure and timeless forms, not in derivative forms, however widespread and important those derivatives may be.

      TR: “It might be argued that internet access was a civil right, since it is something that people look to governments to provide as a matter of course. But even this argument is shaky, he warns. Instead we should look not to the technology, but to the technology industry, to protect human rights, and it is up to engineers to ensure universal, safe internet access. … Cerf, whose current day job is being an internet evangelist for Google, may well have a point. But based on current evidence, there’s a mixed record from the technology industry thus far, not least from Silicon Valley itself. … From a technical perspective, El Reg suspects that Cerf has it right: the internet is no more a human right than a road or telephone. But looking to a relatively amoral industry like technology to act as a human rights guardian is asking for trouble.

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