Allow me to tell you this story. More than a month has passed since a Facebook Group was started. Its members struck up a conversation trough Twitter to embark upon a project. Cyberspace, the Internet, the World Wide Web and its Netizens were often misunderstood by those who viewed from afar, this resulted in misconceptions and stereotypes. In the past government policies had problems taking on the issue. So the group started with a few individuals and the group through discussion eventually decided to work and produce A Magna Carta for Internet Freedom. The basic idea was to have this in place so it could be submitted to the Philippine Legislature.
Now the group is an open group in FB and the discussions and documents are also open. The members are a mix lot. Some I knew and Some I met for the first time online. The group is not limited to bloggers; Nor is the group limited to software writers; in the group are Wikipedians; In the group are Mozillians; In the group are people from the Google Business and technival User Groups; There are even social media practitioners and digital marketers. People from Luzon. Visayas, Mimdanao and beyond the countryvare part of it.It is a diverse coalition of individuals. But we are not a political group. This coalition of individuals task is to produce A Magna Cartabfir Internet Freedom.
Here is an excerpt from the draft:
Selection 2. Declaration of Policy
The purpose of this Act is to ensure that the Rights, Responsibilities and Freedoms enshrined in the Philippine Constitution, and the Bill of Rights is protected, and guaranteed for Filipinos using the Internet and technology.
Section 3. Principles of Philippine Internet Freedom
The State recognizes, ensures and guarantees:
The fundamental right of every Filipino to connect to a free and open Internet access;
The transparent and participatory process of making Internet policy;
The right to meritocracy where age, sex, race, position and qualification are deemed irrelevant, and skill is the ultimate determinant of acceptance;
Art, beauty, and culture can be created on devices, and on the Internet;
An education that promotes computers, devices, the Internet and technology to pursue life, liberty and happiness, and
The fundamental right of each person to:
Free expression on the Internet;
Universal access to reasonably fast and affordable networks;
The freedom to connect, to communicate, to write, to read, to watch, to speak, to listen, to learn, to create;
The freedom to create and innovate without permission, and ensures the right of every Filipino to reasonable access to such creation and innovation, and the commitment to guarantee that such creators and innovators and inventors are not punished for their users’ action and,
To protect, preserve and defend the Filipino’s right to privacy, and to do the same for their ability to control how their data, and devices are used.
These and other documents are available at the group’s FB Page.
And it has made tremendous progress. The daily discussion and input from everyone slowly enabled the Magna Carta to gain structure and flesh. Amidst this the Cybercrime Law was ebacted. Again there were discussions .and individuals banded together one result was probably the first Virtual Roundtable Talk: Life Under the Cybercrime Law. This was livestreamed via Google Hangout on Air and covered also by Blogwatch.
Still the daily grind in building this Magna Carta still continues. One of the amazing things about this project at least for me was to see how people from all over the Net cane and participated. So why am I writing this? One to share this amazing story and Two to invite you dear readers to be part of it. The task is not yet over and the discussion is open to all.
And here is the group – PH Netizens Bill of Rights Working Group.