The International Netizens Electronic Bill of Rights!
When in the course of electronic
it becomes evident that the freedoms of persons who seek knowledge, solace and comfort in the environs of CyberSpace and Networks, is found to be lacking or constrained due to the tyranny and injustice of those who would seek to control access to knowledge, or seek to control the flow of information to any person, anywhere on the Earth, who seek to deny access to information by the denial of access due to monetary means, restricts the free flow of ideas, concepts, thoughts, speech, images, files, or any other medium that may be communicated or transmitted to any number of persons or systems, anywhere on the Earth, must be stopped from the controlling of any information.
When in the course of such events are discovered,
the need to promote the disgrace of such individuals or companies or corporations
must be the first order of the netizens to inform and communicate to other
netizens the information of the offender of these truth's.
For no man or corporation shall be able to control or restrict the flow of any information or free speech to any other person, server, access port or point, or any other means that allow the communications of this and any information to anyone, at any time, for any reason, what so ever.
And with this as the basis of our thoughts,
we demand that the free flow of information
and access to it, be just that, the continued free flow.
As Netizens of the networks, we see no boundaries, no walls of stoppage, no denial of thought due to communications or censorship by any person, government, or corporation, no control or denial of information for any reasons, no matter what the reason or cause. We feel that the information is the rightful property of all Netizens and that the property of the Netizens shall be the property of all Netizens no matter their race, color, creed, income level, access availability, connection speed, telecommunications provider, Internet Service Provider or any other entity that seeks to control, restrain or control any form of information to any person, anywhere, at any time, for any reason.
We hold these following matters as the truths
that we as Netizens
uphold as our creed of knowledge and access
1. That all Netizens shall have the right to
access any and all
information anywhere on or in CyberSpace.
2. That all Netizens shall be entrusted with the CPU given right to
protect and to store any and all information in any manner that
is in the best interest of each Netizen, and each Netizen shall
protect that information from destruction or removal with all
memory and CPU resources available to any and all Netizens at
3. That no one persons, government, company, corporation or other
entity shall restrict, in any manner the flow of all information, at
And if it is found that such occurrences have occurred, then the
Netizens shall convene to discuss and to establish procedures
for the punishment of the offending party until the offending
party concedes their position to the satisfaction of the Netizens.
4. That the Netizens are the governing body of the Information, and
shall be the only authority that shall have the authority to issue
sanctions against the offending party or parties. That the control
of any information shall remain the control of all Netizens with no
restrictions upon any information for the communications of
knowledge or thoughts and ideas. And that each Netizen shall be
entitled to the knowledge without hindrance from any entity.
5. All Netizens shall be entitled to access any and all information
that is available through normal modes of Internet
communication and that each netizens will assist in the
protection of any and all systems and communications to insure
that all Netizens shall be be able to receive the information at
any time without hindrance from any ISP anywhere.
6. No ISP shall be entitled to restrict any flow of information to
anyone for any purpose so what, so ever. The idea that
censorship being in the hands or control of others than
ourselves is a violation of the ideals of the free flow of
information, to the communications of ideas, the delivery of
any content, to any person, anywhere on the net.
7. That all ISP's shall subscribe to this document and will be held to
the terms of this document and it's conditions. If it is found that
any ISP is in violation of this document, then sanctions will be
imposed upon the offending ISP until the ISP conforms to the
ideals of the Declaration of Electronic Rights. If it is found that
the ISP will not conform to these rights, then a total boycott of
the offending ISP along with world wide posting to all
newsgroups, web sites that monitor the actions of ISP's and
other outlets of information will be duly informed and the
Netizens will be advised to not use or go to any site that the
ISP is associated with until the ISP conforms to this declaration.
8. That all Netizens shall be able to communicate their ideas, mail,
communications, web pages, AVI, MPEG,WAV, etc files to
anyone, for any reason, at any time, and for the exclusive
purpose of the user, for the users reasons, at any time, without
the interference of any ISP, for any reason, without the due
process of law followed to the letter of the law.
9. That no ISP shall hold any user to a higher standard than any
other user. That all users are equal in all manners. No ISP shall
restrict any user from communications of any manner without
the foreknowledge of the user. In addition, no ISP shall without
contacting any user, accept any complaint from any source
other than law enforcement, and will not restrict or monitor any
user from any reason.
10 That all ISP's will not restrict the free flow of any
communications from any user including their e-mail for any
reason. All ISP's shall conform to this conditions unless the ISP
wishes to be placed upon a sanctions listing, and will be
considered to in violation of these Netizens rights.
And please read this very important
message from John Perry Barlow, Founder
of the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
A Declaration of the
Independence of Cyberspace
by John Perry Barlow, Cognitive Dissident
Co-Founder, Electronic Frontier Foundation
Governments of the Industrial World, you weary giants of flesh and steel, I come from Cyberspace, the new home of Mind. On behalf of the future, I ask you of the past to leave us alone. You are not welcome among us. You have no sovereignty where we gather.
We have no elected government, nor are we likely to have
one, so I address you with no greater authority than that with which liberty
itself always speaks. I declare the global social space we are building
to be naturally independent of the tyrannies you seek to impose on us.
You have no moral right to rule us nor
do you possess any methods of enforcement we have true reason to fear.
Governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed. You have neither solicited nor received ours. We did not invite you. You do not know us, nor do you know our world. Cyberspace does not lie within your borders. Do not think that you can build it, as though it were a public construction project. You cannot. It is an act of nature and it grows itself through our collective actions.
You have not engaged in our great and gathering conversation, nor did you create the wealth of our marketplaces. You do not know our culture, our ethics, or the unwritten codes that already provide our society more order than could be obtained by any of your impositions.
You claim there are problems among us that you need to solve. You use this claim as an excuse to invade our precincts. Many of these problems don't exist. Where there are real conflicts, where there are wrongs, we will identify them and address them by our means. We are forming our own Social Contract . This governance will arise according to the conditions of our world, not yours. Our world is different.
Cyberspace consists of transactions, relationships, and thought itself, arrayed like a standing wave in the web of our communications. Ours is a world that is both everywhere and nowhere, but it is not where bodies live.
We are creating a world that all may enter without privilege or prejudice accorded by race, economic power, military force, or station of birth.
We are creating a world where anyone, anywhere may express his or her beliefs, no matter how singular, without fear of being coerced into silence or conformity.
Your legal concepts of property, expression, identity, movement, and context do not apply to us. They are based on matter, There is no matter here.
Our identities have no bodies, so, unlike you, we cannot obtain order by physical coercion. We believe that from ethics, enlightened self-interest, and the commonweal, our governance will emerge . Our identities may be distributed across many of your jurisdictions. The only law that all our constituent cultures would generally recognize is the Golden Rule. We hope we will be able to build our particular solutions on that basis. But we cannot accept the solutions you are attempting to impose.
In the United States, you have today created a law, the Telecommunications Reform Act, which repudiates your own Constitution and insults the dreams of Jefferson, Washington, Mill, Madison, DeToqueville, and Brandeis. These dreams must now be born anew in us.
You are terrified of your own children, since they are natives in a world where you will always be immigrants. Because you fear them, you entrust your bureaucracies with the parental responsibilities you are too cowardly to confront yourselves. In our world, all the sentiments and expressions of humanity, from the debasing to the angelic, are parts of a seamless whole, the global conversation of bits. We cannot separate the air that chokes from the air upon which wings beat.
In China, Germany, France, Russia, Singapore, Italy and the United States, you are trying to ward off the virus of liberty by erecting guard posts at the frontiers of Cyberspace. These may keep out the contagion for a small time, but they will not work in a world that will soon be blanketed in bit-bearing media.
Your increasingly obsolete information industries would
perpetuate themselves by proposing laws, in America and elsewhere, that
claim to own speech itself throughout the world. These laws would declare
ideas to be another industrial product, no more noble than pig iron. In
our world, whatever the human
mind may create can be reproduced and distributed infinitely at no cost. The global conveyance of thought no longer requires your factories to accomplish.
These increasingly hostile and colonial measures place us in the same position as those previous lovers of freedom and self-determination who had to reject the authorities of distant, uninformed powers. We must declare our virtual selves immune to your sovereignty, even as we continue to consent to your rule over our bodies. We will spread ourselves across the Planet so that no one can arrest our thoughts.
We will create a civilization of the Mind in Cyberspace. May it be more humane and fair than the world your governments have made before.
February 8, 1996
The Electronic Frontier Foundation is a non-profit civil liberties organization working in the public interest to protect privacy, free expression, and access to public resources and information in new media.
Published as a contribution in Information Warfare
Cyberterrorism: Protecting Your Personal Security in the Electronic Age,
by Winn Schwartau, October 1996. Thunderís Mouth Press, NY