Declaration of Internet Freedom

When I read the Declaration of Internet Freedom as an IT property rights advocate, I feel it falls short. That said, I still support the declarations with its existing shortcomings, and "signed" it through the EFF interface.

The right to control how our own devices are used is only mentioned in the context of "privacy", when that is only one of the issues impacted.

I see the Internet as being an end-to-end technology where the devices at the endpoint must be under the control of their owners: it it not only a matter of the connections between those endpoints. Issues of expression, access and openness are as much an issue of control over the endpoints as it is control over the interconnections between nodes on the network. Even if the "network" is kept dumb, all the opposing policies (censorship, restrictions of access, and being closed) are possible on the endpoints alone.

The ability to innovate and create without permission is built upon the ability to be in control of devices, including and especially the freedom to choose software (or the freedom to choose who manages that software : unbundled from the hardware purchase).

Separate from the above, I worry about possible conflicts arising as some believe that in order to control how their data is used that they require the ability to disallow other people to control how devices are used. As discussed many times before, data (content) cannot itself make decisions: all policies are encoded in software and run on hardware. Control of data must never be allowed to mean that the owners of the data revoke control over devices: their right to swing their cane ends at my nose.

There are many ways to accomplish data control that do not involve removing device owner control. The regulation must be about the specific activity, not the technology, just as we regulate driving behaviour rather than banning the private auto-mobile or disallowing owners to choose their own drivers.