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Principles for an Internet Policy

Posted on the Howard Dean for America Website

Add your comment on this item1 This nation - and not just this nation - needs to have an honest conversation about what's real, possible and desirable when it comes to the gift of the Internet. Conversations need shared ground. Here are the beliefs we think should guide the development of a fact-based federal policy. We put these forward as part of a continuing Great American Conversation . . .

1. No one owns the Internet

Add your comment on this item2 The Internet does not exist for the unique benefit of any group or economic interest. It is ours as citizens of this country and as inhabitants of this planet.

2. Everyone should be connected

Add your comment on this item3 The social, economic, and educational advantages of being on the Internet are real. Universal Internet access regardless of economic or geographic position should be a federal goal.

3. The Internet's value comes from its openness

Add your comment on this item4 The Internet provides a new possibility of global access to an unprecedented sum of human knowledge. It is the responsibility of this generation to make sure that knowledge is available for innovation in business and culture.

4. The Internet’s openness should be promoted

Add your comment on this item5 The Internet was initially designed as a way of moving bits without preferring some bits to others. Network architects call this principle "end-to-end" networking. That way, anyone with a good idea - or a bad one - can build it and see if it works. This openness is essential to the Internet's value as a marketplace of innovation and a public square for ideas.

5. The Internet is a democracy of voices, not primarily a broadcast medium

Add your comment on this item6 Although the Internet certainly can be used to broadcast messages and programs from one spot to hundreds of millions of others, its most important effect socially and economically is its transformation of the broadcast model. Rather than "freedom of the press belonging to those who own one," everyone now can reach everyone else. The Internet is encouraging people to speak up, in their own voice, about what matters to them. This empowerment of human voice and conversation is profoundly in line with the ideals of American democracy.

6. The Internet is not perfectible

Add your comment on this item7 The Internet is not perfect and it never will be. It is a global network providing possibility of connecting to geniuses and pickpockets and worse. We need to work to root out illegal and malicious uses of the Internet and the exploitation of children and other vulnerable members of our society.

7. The Internet is just at the beginning

Add your comment on this item8 Although the Internet has connected 700,000,000 people worldwide, it is just at its beginning. We need to recognize that no one yet knows the true potential of the Internet. And we need to support the political and technological policies that will help the Internet grow to its true capacity as a force for democracy world-wide.