The Internet Manifesto

Universal Rights

Every human being, every man, woman and child, has the inalienable right to access information, communication and commerce. To this end the Internet has evolved to serve mankind. Any entity attempting to abridge these rights is an enemy of the people. Just as governments have granted rights to their citizens, so the Internet grants rights to its netizens.

  1. No person shall be denied access to the Internet, unless they have abused that right.
  2. Internet access shall be universal and inexpensive.
  3. No information shall be censored! One must assume that it is better to be informed than ignorant.
  4. No individual, or entity may restrict access to the Internet or it's content in any way.
  5. Every effort must be made to extend Internet access to those least able to obtain it, as those are the people who can most benefit from it.
  6. Business interests must not be allowed to dominate or control the Internet. It is their purpose to facilitate and enhance the experience. Thus shall they prosper.
Governments are Obsolete!

Every government or agency that helps people access and use the Internet will survive until universal access is achieved. Governments seeking to restrict access will be undermined by the very thing they seek to limit, by the people they supposedly serve.

More and more, we see how governments feel threatened by the Internet. Indeed, more than one has fallen, with Internet assistance. Governments with their entrenched bureaucracies are incapable of evolving fast enough to satisfy the needs of the emerging netizenry. Their response is reams of legislation to restrict and control access and content. Their explanation is to "protect" some indefinable constituency. In reality they are protecting their own powers to govern.

As these powers slip away, governments become more desperate to retain control, not just of information, but of the regulatory process itself. This is where the true test of the existing system will be challenged. The possibility of people governing themselves, without elected officials, without political systems, without backroom deals is almost inconceivable to most people. Just imagine what that implies. Imagine how a system like that would work. Think about it. Then get used to it! It's coming!

The Inefficiencies of Government vs. The efficacy of the Internet

The perfect example of how inefficient Governments can be is the process of taxation. Here is something, that given modern technology could be done effortlessly, mindlessly and certainly less stressfully. Instead we are given piles of forms to fill out, endless regulations to ponder, and penalties if we are late, or make mistakes. The toll this system takes on one individual psyche multiplied by the millions of souls who must deal with this unrewarding ritual annually, is inexcusable and unforgivable.

The viability of Governments in the near term is dependent upon their ability to adapt and the flexibility regarding their own system and just how democratic their system truly is. In the long run, all governments will either step aside as more efficient systems replace them or be overthrown by the irate populace they sought to control. It is inevitable.

Health is Wealth!

The Internet transcends the localized and politicized interests of any government or agency. The Internet is the nervous system of this planet. We are all connected via this system. Any restrictions on the free flow of energy through this system must be viewed as an impediment to the overall health of the system and must be remedied. As information becomes more evenly distributed, so will wealth. The ability of the Internet to educate and inform gives everyone an equal chance to achieve their dreams.

The Future

The Internet is an evolutionary force that must be accommodated. It will continue to revolutionize the way we communicate, do business and learn. For too long, the primitive systems of governments have sought to retain power by controlling just these same functions. Those systems are now obsolete! The Internet is Democracy in it's most pure form, without awkward political processes. The power of the Internet is unlimited.

Over a century of Industrial and technological innovation has brought about this great achievement. What wonders await us, now that everyone can participate in the events and processes that shape our world. Knowledge is power. It must become universal. To allow individuals or institutions or private entities to restrict information is to deny each person his right, and should be treated as a criminal offense.

Here is a more recent Internet Manifesto published by the International Federation of Library Associations

This is a HIP publication, copyright 1997, HIP INC.

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Posted Feb. 16, 1998