World leaders from more than 60 countries, including the US and UK, have come together to commit to a new deal to safeguard the future of the internet.
The so-called Declaration on the Future of the Internet (PDF) will help strengthen online democracy as countries that have agreed to its terms have promised not to undermine elections by conducting online disinformation campaigns or illegal spying people according to the White House.
At the same time, the statement pledges to promote internet safety and fair use, with affected countries agreeing to refrain from imposing government-led shutdowns while providing internet services that are both affordable and reliable.
Although the Declaration on the Future of the Internet is not legally binding, the principles set out therein will serve as a reference for public decision-makers, businesses, citizens and civil society organizations.
Declaration for the Future of the Internet
In a fact sheet released by the White House, the Biden administration provided additional information on how the United States and other partners will work together to protect the future of the internet, saying:
“By signing this declaration, the United States and its partners will work together to promote this vision and its principles globally, while respecting everyone’s regulatory autonomy within our own jurisdictions and in accordance with our respective national laws. and our international legal obligations.
So far, 60 countries have pledged to abide by the declaration, although the European Commission has said it expects more to join in the coming weeks. Unsurprisingly, Russia, China and India are not involved in these efforts, although a senior Biden administration official said in a background press appeal that “hope remains that time is not yet fully elapsed for India to join”.
US tech giants back the statement, with Google saying in a blog post that the private sector must also play an important role in promoting internet standards, while Microsoft Chairman Brad Smith explained in a post by separate blog that governments cannot handle the global challenges facing the internet on their own.
We’ll likely hear more once countries start implementing the declaration and others who were late to the party decide to commit to it.