The VERGE: The EU, US, and 32 other countries just announced a ‘Declaration for the Future of the Internet’

The United States, all European Union member states, and 32 non-EU countries (including Ukraine) have announced a “Declaration for the Future of the Internet” that lays out priorities for an “open, free, global, interoperable, reliable, and secure” internet.

  • It highlights goals like affordability, net neutrality, and removing illegal content without curtailing free expression — although it offers few specifics for achieving them.
  • The three-page declaration, also summarized by the White House and the European Commission, offers a broad vision of the net as well as a mix of more specific issues for its 61 signatories.
  • The declaration emphasizes that the internet should be decentralized and globally interconnected, saying that countries should “refrain from undermining the technical infrastructure essential to the general availability and integrity of the internet.” That’s an implicit repudiation of the “splinternet,” an internet that’s fragmented by countries banning services and shutting down online access. It’s a counterpoint to the visions of countries like Russia and China (neither of whom are signatories) that have heavily restricted access to foreign sites and apps. It also contradicts unsuccessful Ukrainian requests to cut Russia off from global domain services.

“We are united by a belief in the potential of digital technologies to promote connectivity, democracy, peace, the rule of law, sustainable development, and the enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms,” the document begins. But “access to the open internet is limited by some authoritarian governments and online platforms and digital tools are increasingly used to repress freedom of expression and deny other human rights and fundamental freedoms.”

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