[NetBehaviour] FW: An Internet for the Common Good: Engagement, Empowerment and Justice for All: A Community Informatics Declaration
gurstein at gmail.com
Mon Jan 13 14:52:59 CET 2014
An Internet for the Common Good:
Engagement, Empowerment and Justice for All
A Community Informatics Declaration
Effective use of the Internet will benefit everyone. Currently the benefits
of the Internet are distributed unequally: some people gain power, wealth
and influence from using the Internet while others struggle for basic
access. In our vision, people in their communities and everywhere -
including the poor and marginalized in developing and developed countries,
women and youth, indigenous peoples, older persons, those with disabilities
-- will use the Internet to develop and exercise their civic intelligence
and work together to address collective challenges.
More than a technology or a marketplace, the Internet is a social
environment, a community space for people to interact with the expectation
that principles of equity, fairness and justice will prevail. Internet
governance must ensure that this online social space functions effectively
for the well-being of all.
A community informatics approach to Internet governance supports equal
distribution of Internet benefits and addresses longstanding social,
economic, cultural and political injustices in this environment. Questions
of social justice and equity through the Internet are central to how the
Internet and society will evolve. People in different communities must be
empowered to develop and adapt the Internet infrastructure to reflect their
core values and ways of knowing.
We support development of an Internet in which communities are the "first
mile" and not the "last mile." We believe the primary purpose of the
Internet is not to mine data and make knowledge a commodity for purchase and
sale but rather to advance community goals equally and fairly within these
We aspire to an Internet effectively owned and controlled by the communities
that use it and to Internet ownership that evolves through communities
federated regionally, nationally and globally. The Internet's role as a
community asset, a public good and a local community utility is more
important than its role as a site for profit-making or as a global artifact.
The access layer and the higher layers of applications and content should be
community owned and controlled in a way that supports a rich ecology of
commercial enterprises subject to and serving community and public
As citizens and community members in an Internet-enabled world we have a
collective interest in how the Internet is governed. Our collective
interests need to be expressed and affirmed in all fora discussing the
future of the Internet. As a collective, and as members of civil society, we
have developed a declaration for Internet governance based on principles of
community informatics. We appreciate your interest and welcome your support.
A just and equitable Internet provides:
1. Fair and equitable means to access and use the Internet: affordable
by all and designed and deployed so that all may realize the benefits of
effective use. The poor and marginalized, women, youth, indigenous peoples,
older persons, those with disabilities, Internet users and non-users alike;
no one, from any community globally, should be without Internet access.
2. Equitable access within communities to the benefits of the Internet,
including information, opportunities to communicate, increased effectiveness
of communications and information management, and opportunities to
participate in system development and content creation. Everyone, within all
communities, should have the right, the means and the opportunity to use the
Internet to share the full intellectual heritage of humankind without undue
cost or hindrance.
3. Respect for privacy -- people must be able to conveniently use the
Internet in a way that is credibly protected against large-scale
surveillance or interference by government authorities or corporate
4. Infrastructure that ensures the maximum level of personal security
5. Opportunities for all within all communities to build, manage, and
own Internet infrastructure as and when it is needed.
6. Internet governance by democratic principles and processes -
including privileging input from communities affected by decisions and
ensuring inclusion of the widest possible perspectives supporting the
development of our digital environments.
7. A peer-to-peer architecture with equal power and privilege for each
node or end point and complete neutrality of the architecture and medium for
all users and all applications.
8. Recognition that the local is a fundamental building block of all
information and communications and the "global" is a "federation of locals."
9. Equal opportunity for all to connect and communicate in a language
and culture of their choice.
10. Recognition and equal privileging of many types of knowledge and
ways of knowing, building from the capacities of each individual, community
and knowledge society.
11. The means for information freely provided on and through the
Internet to be freely available for the use and benefit of all.
12. Support for collaboration, engagement, education, solidarity, and
problem-solving as the stepping stones to civic intelligence and the
capacity of communities, civil society, and all people to equitably and
effectively engage in informed self-governance.
You are invited to endorse this Declaration as an Individual and/or as an
This document was prepared by a group of Community Informatics activists and
endorsed by consensus of the Community Informatics community 21.12.13 (a
version edited for style and grammar and not content was re-endorsed
[We are very much looking for sign-on's on the Declaration (see below) as we
want to take this statement to the Global Multistakeholder Meeting on the
Future of Internet Governance
<http://www.cgi.br/brmeeting/announcement.html> that the President of
Brazil is convening in April on principles for Internet governance
post-Snowden. We think that there will be very strong pressure to maintain
the status quo with some minor technical changes and we are hoping to
generate some significant momentum for a broader initiative towards an
Internet for the Common Good.]
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