“Declaration for the Future of the Internet” – this is the name of the declaration that the European Union presented together with the USA and 32 other international partners on April 22, 2022. It contains principles to make the Internet a safe place and trustworthy space for all users.

Open, free, reliable and secure: that’s what the Internet of the future looks like. At least if the European Union, the USA and their international partners have their way. At a meeting of the National Security Council in Washington, the latter presented a joint declaration summarizing the vision and principles for a trustworthy Internet.

The three-page document is intended to ensure that “the values we uphold offline are also protected online,” according to EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

Principles for a safer Internet

The declaration focuses above all on democratic principles. According to the signatories, fundamental freedoms and human rights must also be more strongly protected on the Internet in the future. In addition, the principles of net neutrality should be upheld and all users should be given access to legitimate content and services.

The Internet should function as a “decentralized network in which digital technologies can be used in a trustworthy manner,” the statement says.

Criticism of authoritarian regimes

The signatories are concerned by the fact that authoritarian governments suppress Internet freedom.

The declaration thus primarily addresses countries in which the targeted dissemination of disinformation is used for propaganda purposes, as is currently the case in the war between Russia and Ukraine. Furthermore, the partner states criticize cyber attacks and the excessive concentration of economic power on the Internet.

An outlook for the future

With the “Declaration for the Future of the Internet”, all signatory countries are in favor of international cooperation.

They want to work together to combat suppression, illegal content and human rights violations on the Internet in order to maintain connectivity and the rule of law. What the concrete implementation will look like in practice is to be discussed at various workshops of partners as well as the multi-stakeholder community starting in summer 2022.

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