India and Brazil, two of the most important markets for technology in the world, are not among the 61 nations that signed the declaration.
In partnership with 60 global partners, the United States has launched the Declaration for the Future of the Internet — a commitment to advance a single global internet that is truly open and fosters competition, privacy, and respect for human rights. https://t.co/Sv99FroBxr— The White House (@WhiteHouse) April 28, 2022
The US, European Union and a host of other global partners have pledged to reinforce democracy online and make the internet “open, free, global, interoperable, reliable, and secure”.
The Declaration for the Future of the Internet, launched by the US and 60 global partners, represents a political commitment by the governments of these countries to advance a positive vision for the Internet and digital technologies. The signatories promised not to shut down access to the internet, or use it to spy illegally on citizens, access an individual’s personal data or run misinformation campaigns to undermine elections, the White House said on Thursday. The government also promised to ensure safety of its users, especially young people and women, while promoting access to the internet.
“We affirm our commitment to promote and sustain an Internet that: is an open, free, global, interoperable, reliable, and secure and to ensure that the Internet reinforces democratic principles and human rights and fundamental freedoms,” the declaration said.
Although the declaration is not legally binding, the signatories said in the three-page document that the declaration should act as a reference for policymakers, citizens, businesses and civil society organisations.
According to senior US government officials, the pledge will serve as a counterpoint to countries like Russia and China that have tried to disconnect the internet from the rest of the world, The New York Times reported. The pledge emphasises the need to decentralise and globally interconnect the Internet.
The document highlights the need to ensure privacy and safety, steps that the EU has taken in recent years through its General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and Digital Services Act (DSA). The declaration condemns the use of “algorithmic tools or techniques” for surveillance and oppression, The Verge reported.
On India not being a partner to the declaration, a senior official said the time has not fully passed yet for the country to join. “We’ve been engaged in — in very intensive efforts to have all of these — all of these countries join,” Business Line quoted the official as saying.
The US and the 60 global partners of the declaration will work together to implement the principles in the declaration and promote its vision globally. At the same time, they will respect each other’s regulatory autonomy within their own jurisdictions.