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Defending a Free and Open Internet

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Over the past two decades, the open Internet has become so central to our everyday lives that many people living in democratic countries now take it for granted. Our free and open Internet gives all of us the power to communicate, advocate, innovate, and share ideas with each other. We know the Internet is a crucial tool for people around the globe to share ideas and work collectively to build the world we all want.

Yet, as recent shocking revelations have shown, the Internet freedoms that many take for granted are increasingly under siege -- whether from intrusive secret government spying, or from old media conglomerates trying to shore up their outdated business model by pushing for extreme new Internet censorship rules. These threats have sparked a remarkable wave of protest from hundreds of thousands of pro-Internet citizens across the globe.

Since Internet use first became widespread in the early 1990s, we've seen powerful and unaccountable interests attempt to undermine our open Internet -- whether by monitoring our communications, censoring free expression online, clamping down on our innovation, or hindering the free flow of ideas.

Over the years, we've seen this threat manifest itself through an alphabet soup of initiatives such as ACTA, PIPA, SOPA, and most recently the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the disturbing revelations of blanket spying by the U.S. NSA, Britain's GCHQ, and Canada's CSEC on the Internet activities of millions of innocent citizens.

To defend the open Internet, hundreds of thousands of people and organizations, including OpenMedia.org, have come together to support the Declaration of Internet Freedom. We joined this international movement to defend our Internet freedoms because we believe that they are absolutely essential if we are to protect democratic values in an interconnected age.

The Declaration of Internet Freedom supports 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.

At OpenMedia.org we believe in these principles so strongly that we've formally adopted them as our guiding principles to our work in Internet governance. An open Internet can bring about a better world - but the Internet can't defend itself. Only an active and engaged citizenry can do that.

If you agree, join our global movement by adding your name to the declaration at OpenMedia.org -- and take action by sharing your vision for a Fair Digital Future using our new Internet Voice tool -- we'll use your input to create a plan for a fair digital future free of online spying and censorship. Join in today!

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