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Citizens can help write a less intrusive 'Digital Bill of Rights'

Consumer Reports News: June 13, 2012 12:08 PM

Earlier this year, the voice of the global Internet spoke out—and defeated—proposed American legislation SOPA and PIPA, the Stop Online Privacy Act and the Protect IP Act, respectively. But now, a few American legislators believe that the power of online citizens can help draft a positive piece of online legislation—a "Digital Bill of Rights."

On Monday, Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Representative Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) proposed the legislation to protect Internet users from intrusive legislation such as SOPA and PIPA. Modeled after the Bill of Rights to the U.S. Constitution, the draft proposed by the lawmakers identifies 10 key online rights, including freedom, openness, and equality.

But the proposed bill also attempts to outline rights to online creativity and privacy—tough issues to address in the social-media age.

On his website, Keep The Web Open, Rep. Issa says "I do not have all the answers." However, he writes, "We have a rare opportunity to give government marching orders on how to treat the Internet, those who use it and the innovation it supports."

As such, the law maker has placed the first draft of the Digital Bill of Right online. Writes Issa:

I need your help to get this right...for everyone to comment, criticize and collaborate. I look forward to hearing from you and continuing to work together to keep the web open.

Digital Bill of Rights [Keep the Web Open]
Wyden, Issa Say Digital Bill of Rights Needed to Prevent New Versions of SOPA [Bloomberg,com's Bureau of National Affairs]
Wyden, Issa call for Internet bill of rights [The Hill]

Paul Eng

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