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A lot a lot. And I like David Weinberger’s take on the Italian draft “Declaration of Internet Rights”

David Weinberger has a set of comments about the Italian draft “Declaration of Internet Rights”. He says he likes the draft a lot. «A lot a lot». He quotes the draft, the opening for public comment and Fabio Chiusi’s report.

«I like the document a lot. A lot a lot. The principles are based on a genuine understanding of the value that the Net brings and what enables the Net to bring that value. This is crucial because so often those who seek to govern the Net do so because they see it primarily as a threat to order or a challenge to their power.

The Declaration focuses on the rights of individuals, taking the implicit stance (or so I read it) that the threat to those rights comes not only from Internet malefactors and giant Internet conglomerates run amok, but also from those who seek to govern the Net. It includes as rights not only access to the Net, but access to education about how to use the Net, a point too often forgotten.»

What is wonderful – and, sadly, rare – in David’s comment is the fact that he actually read the draft and found out what it is meant for. It isn’t about regulating the Net. It is about regulating those that want to regulate the Net. And it does so in the name of human rights by focusing on the actual character of the Net, which the draft describes as a great opportunity and not a threat: what’s threatening are governments and big companies that want to change the Net to control it.

Net neutrality, for example, is not a form of regulation that limits market’s freedom. On the contrary: it is an enabler for freedom in the market of innovation and expression. And samething similar can be said about the notions of “platforms’ interoperability” and “digital impact assessment” (meaning: the institution that wants to decide something about the Net must first demonstrate it understands the ecosystemic consequences of what it is trying to do).

David also stresses this aspect of the draft by suggesting that it contains something like “Every effort will be made to enable the governance of the Net bottom up and by the edges.” Which is a truly internettian wording that I personally like a lot a lot.

Yes. Because the draft – which I timidly helped writing at the Commission – can be improved. Maybe its wording could be even simpler, its goals should be clearer, its limits should be more understandable. That is why we should hope in a rich public debate about the draft.


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Luca De Biase

Knowledge and happiness economy Media and information ecology