Legitimate political institutions derive their power justly from the consent of the governed, and these same institutions have legitimate authority on the Internet. While you denounce legitimate authority as tyranny, we seek to use this power to build our utopia of a world with universal digital access, an economy transformed by data and digital processes, and an Internet where criminals are accountable for their misdeeds.
We too want to build a world that all may enter without privilege or prejudice accorded by race, economic power, military force or station of birth, but we want to build this world in both our cities and our networks.
You claim that the Internet is distinct from the rest of the world and that the laws of man should cease where the physical meets the virtual. These anti-government sentiments place you in the same position as those previous lovers of anarchy and lawlessness whom history has shown to be enemies of a free, progressive and prosperous society.
Your declaration has failed because the strength of the Internet does not come from the ability of a small group of individuals to separate themselves from the rest of us but by allowing all members of our global community to come together online to create and share, to work and to play. It is the voluntary cooperation of individuals, businesses and governments that has created the Internet that we know today. Thus the greatest asset of the Internet is not its independence but its interdependence.
We reject your declaration of independence and take up a new call for interdependence among sovereign nations and peoples. We will work together in common cause so that no one can arrest our progress.
We will create a civilization of both bits and steel. May it be more humane, fair and prosperous than the world we have made before.
Washington, D.C. February 8, 2013
Daniel Castro is a senior analyst at the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, a nonprofit public policy think tank.
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