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Declaration of Digital Human Rights

(See: The Problem, Glossary)

The Internet was created by individuals, governments, academic and military institutions and corporations. Over the decades since it's inception our individual and collective dependence on the digital space has grown to a degree where it now makes sense to consider it a basic human right. The Internet however does not benefit from the same recognition and protection enjoyed by other basic human rights. It is a global, public resource, and as such should be beyond the regulatory reach of any single government.

This declaration intends to establish a better foundations on top of which the Internet can thrive, while mitigating the concerning trends which have emerged over the past decades. It aims to illustrate an aspirational future state, to remind us and future generations of what we should be striving for.

  1. Individuals come before Organizations (Corporations and Governments) and Algorithms (discussion)

  2. Individuals are free and have a right to a free, uncensored internet (discussion)

    1. States have an obligation to facilitate the production, exchange, diffusion, and access to the Internet.
  3. Individuals have the right to an equal access and equal User Experience (discussion)

    1. Access must be granted equally to all, must never be denied, and the User Experience must never be degraded based on the identity, the location, the means of access of the individual or their behaviour online (the data and metadata they produce).
    2. Access may be granted, and the User Experience improved as a result of payment.
  4. Individuals have a right to freely assemble, associate and act on the internet (discussion)

  5. Individuals have the right to privacy (discussion)

    1. Individuals have the right to anonymity or partial anonymity.
    2. Any entity wishing to collect personal identifying information about an individual must first obtain explicit permission to do so, and must explain how the information will be used (this is covered in detail by the GDPR).
    3. Individuals must grant explicit permission by actively opting in, before any information which is collected about them or about their online behaviour, personal or otherwise, is used for the purpose of “conversion optimisation”. Organisations must not use an individual’s refusal to provide such information as grounds to prevent access to a Service or to provide a degraded User Experience.
  6. Personal data is owned by the individual. (discussion)

    1. Only Fair Use Rights to personal data can be sold.
  7. Data which is not of a personal nature is public by default (discussion)

    1. This includes content (including user generated content), metadata and software code (including the source code of a SaaS service).
    2. Such data can be owned by an individual or an organisation:
      1. Moral rights are owned by individuals who have created the data and cannot be transferred. They include the right of attribution, the right to have a work published anonymously or pseudonymously, and the right to the integrity of the work.
      2. Copyrights are owned by either an individual or an organization and can be transferred. They include the right to duplicate and modify the data.
      3. Fair Use Rights are owned by either an individual or an organization and can be sold. They include the right to use the data anywhere and in any way.
    3. Software is open source by default.
      1. Closed source software must be provided with explicit Product Liability, which is meant to protect the individual from damage caused by Service defects.
  8. Individuals have the right to opt-out of any digital component of a Service (discussion)

    1. Individuals who have opted out of a digital component(s) of a Service should still be able to access the other components of the Service which are not materially dependent on the digital component the individual has opted-out of.
    2. Organizations must preserve technological alternatives (including analog alternatives) that are in common use unless the very existence of a Service depends on a particular digital technology, in which case there’s no sense in preserving any other means of access.
  9. The infrastructure on top of which the internet is running (hardware and software) is a public resource and must be operated openly and without prejudice (discussion)

(see previous discussion on Google Docs)