The United States, the European Union, and 60 international partners have proposed a Declaration for the Future of the Internet. It lays forth the vision and principles for a safe and secure Internet. Partners support an open, free, global, interoperable, dependable, and secure future for the Internet, as well as a commitment to protecting and respecting human rights online and across the digital world.
The Internet as we know it provides unparalleled opportunities for individuals all over the globe to communicate and express themselves, and it continues to revolutionize the global economy, allowing billions of people to benefit economically.
The Internet has posed significant policy issues as well. We are seeing a rise in digital authoritarianism throughout the world, with some authorities suppressing freedom of expression, censoring independent news sites, interfering with elections, spreading disinformation, and depriving their citizens of other basic rights. At the same time, millions of individuals continue to confront access hurdles, and cybersecurity risks and attacks jeopardize network trust and reliability.
The Declaration for the Future of the Internet has been launched at a hybrid event in Washington, D.C., organized by the White House’s National Security Council.
A Single Global Internet
The Declaration is a collaborative effort, and the partners will continue to reach out to more nations to include them. All partners will work together to achieve the vision of an open, free, global, interoperable, reliable, and secure Internet by reaching out to the private sector, international organizations, the technical community, academia, and civil society, as well as other relevant stakeholders around the world.
Signing this Declaration would help reclaim the Internet’s promise in the face of the twenty-first century’s global prospects and difficulties. It also confirms and recommits its partners to a single global Internet that is genuinely open, promotes competition, privacy, and human rights respect.
To sum up, the Declaration’s principles include commitments to:
- Protect human rights and fundamental freedoms of all people
- Promote a global Internet that advances the free flow of information
- Advance inclusive and affordable connectivity so that all people can benefit from the digital economy
- Promote trust in the global digital ecosystem, including through protection of privacy
- Protect and strengthen the multi-stakeholder approach to governance that keeps the Internet running for the benefit of all
So far, the U.S. and 60 partners have endorsed the Declaration, including all EU Member States, and more countries are expected to follow suit in the coming weeks.
The European Union worked together with the United States and a group of international partners to devise a positive agenda and shared vision for the future of the global Internet. Over the last year, they have worked with partners from across the world, including civil society, industry, academia, and other stakeholders, to reaffirm the goal of an open, free, global, interoperable, reliable, and secure Internet and reverse unfavorable trends. People all across the world would benefit from a single, unfragmented Internet that allows global communications and trade while also supporting freedom, creativity, education, and trust.
“The Internet has brought humanity together, like never before in history,” said Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission. “Today, for the first time, like-minded countries from all over the world are setting out a shared vision for the future of the Internet, to make sure that the values we hold true offline are also protected online, to make the Internet a safe place and trusted space for everyone, and to ensure that the Internet serves our individual freedom. Because the future of the Internet is also the future of democracy, of humankind.”
“The Declaration for the Future of the Internet is a clear message in a time of geopolitical and digital upheaval: the EU is committed to maintaining the Internet free, open, global, interoperable, reliable, and secure,” said Josep Borrell, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. “We stand against efforts to divide the Internet and will continue to work together with our partners around the world to protect human rights online and across the digital ecosystem. The DFI enlarges the law-governed digital space, brings together coalitions of like-minded partners that share a vision of a human-centric digital transformation. It is a demonstration of the EU’s Digital Diplomacy being an effective part of our foreign policy toolbox.”
The list of signatories is available here.