The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) today released The Declaration of the Interdependence of Cyberspace, which highlights the symbiotic relationship between government and the Internet and the need for reasonable oversight of cyberspace.
ITIF’s declaration comes 17 years to the day after Grateful Dead lyricist and Electronic Freedom Foundation (EFF) board member John Perry Barlow released his Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace. Despite its age, the earlier declaration remains an almost sacred text of the numerous anti-government voices on the Internet, from extreme groups like Anonymous to other Internet policy organizations like EFF and the Free Software Foundation, and blogs like TechDirt and the Tech Liberation Front. Moreover, many of the protests surrounding net neutrality, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), and the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), are fundamentally driven by a deeply held belief that government should not be involved in the Internet.
ITIF’s Declaration states, “The Internet is ruled, as are all technologies, not only by the norms and beliefs of its users, but also by the laws and values of the societies in which they live… . We do not want an Internet controlled by the nations of the world, but neither do we want an Internet divorced from government. We seek a balance that recognizes both the rights of the individual and the benefits to the community of well-ordered systems.”
“The idea that the Internet is ungovernable or should not be governed has been proven time and again to be flat out wrong,” notes Daniel Castro, senior analyst for ITIF and principal author of The Declaration of the Interdependence of Cyberspace. “Even John Perry Barlow has backed away from his statements as the potential negative consequences of online anarchy have become clear. It’s time to recognize that all stakeholders on the Internet, including government, should work together to protect the rights, privacy and property of individuals in our society.”
The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) is a Washington, D.C.-based think tank at the cutting edge of designing innovation strategies and technology policies to create economic opportunities and improve quality of life in the United States and around the world. Founded in 2006, ITIF is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, non-partisan organization that documents the beneficial role technology plays in our lives and provides fact-based analysis and pragmatic ideas for improving technology-driven productivity, boosting competitiveness, and meeting today's global challenges through innovation. For additional information, visit ITIF at www.itif.org.