House Lawmakers Are Demanding An Internet ‘Bill Of Rights’

SOPA Censorship Protest


Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden and Republican Rep. Darrell Issa want to make a Bill of Rights for the Internet. The two Congressmen pushed Issa’s Digital Bill of Rights this morning at the Personal Democracy Forum in New York. 

Both Wyden and Issa were instrumental in defeating the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA), which critics charged permitted government infringement on free speech and innovation. 

“We’re going to create a ‘cyber-industrial complex’ if we’re not careful,” Wyden said this morning. “What I hope will happen out of this meeting is we will start a grassroots drive — a net-roots drive — to create a Digital Bill of Rights for this country, much like our original Bill of Rights.”

They think it could provide a measuring stick for future, SOPA-similar bills that are introduced in the future.

Wyden said it’s not exactly a timely item Congress will take up soon, but that he hopes, considering the importance of the issue after SOPA’s defeat, that Congress will eventually consider the bill. 

“I’m not trying to set a date today and jam it down people’s throats,” Wyden said in an interview after he spoke on the panel. “I think there’s a great opportunity to answer the question, which is, how do you measure future Internet policy?”

Wyden said the lawmakers plan to crowdsource the Digital Bill of Rights through Congressional websites and networks, and through “Digital Constitutional Conventions.”

Here’s Issa’s full draft of the Digital Bill of Rights:

  1. Freedom – digital citizens have a right to a free, uncensored internet
  2. Openness – digital citizens have a right to an open, unobstructed internet
  3. Equality – all digital citizens are created equal on the internet
  4. Participation – digital citizens have a right to peaceably participate where and how they choose on the internet
  5. Creativity – digital citizens have a right to create, grow and collaborate on the internet, and be held accountable for what they create
  6. Sharing – digital citizens have a right to freely share their ideas, lawful discoveries and opinions on the internet
  7. Accessibility – digital citizens have a right to access the internet equally, regardless of who they are or where they are
  8. Association – digital citizens have a right to freely associate on the internet
  9. Privacy – digital citizens have a right to privacy on the internet
  10. Property – digital citizens have a right to benefit from what they create, and be secure in their intellectual property on the internet

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