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The United States of America, the European Union, and thirty-two different nations signed the “Declaration for the Future of the Internet”. The declaration represents a vision internet’s future; one that is fair, democratic, and decentralized. Signing the declaration is a commitment to contribute.
The declaration was penned by both American and European policymakers to depict the core values of the internet’s future. Several countries all over the world have been requested to sign the declaration. Signing is non-binding but political. Importantly, it shows support for the values and norms included.
The document declares that:
The internet ought to operate as one, decentralized network of multiple networks.
Technology providers should communicate transparently and leave room for competitors.
Technology on the web should try to control exclusion and discrimination.
The internet ought to be in line with the Human Rights declaration.
So far, the USA and all European member states have signed the declaration. These include Australia, Taiwan, Japan, the UK, and Canada. It is worth recalling that their signature is non-binding and has no serious consequences. Signing the declaration represents a wish to contribute to the proposed future of the internet.
A voice for the European Commission intimated that the partners share several concerns. He pointed out the fact that internet freedoms are suppressed by some authoritarian governments. He further pointed out that some governments violate human rights using digital tools.
The partners work together to oppose the centralization of economic power, the spread of illegal content, disinformation, and cyber attacks.
The topics above are not new to Europe. The EC regularly sits to propose laws to achieve its mission. For example; the spread of illegal content is controlled by the Digital Services Act; the centralization of economic power is controlled by the Digital Markets Act.
However, the scale of this initiative is unprecedented. The US, EU, and the other 32 countries form a partnership against any nation with a different vision of the Internet. It is worth noting that China refused to sign the declaration. The Asian nation is known for openly using the internet to police its citizens. It regularly clashes with the norms and values included in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. For the foreseeable future, such clashes are anticipated to continue.