The Internet Society and Public Policy
Since its inception more than twelve years ago, members of the Internet
Society have played key roles in the evolution of Internet technologies
and in providing training on the uses of the Internet in countries
around the globe. The society serves as the organizational home
for the Internet Engineering Task Force, which develops the standards
that ensure the stability, reliability, security, and scalability
of the Internet. In addition, the Internet Society has provided
valuable advice on key Internet-related policy decisions in order
to ensure the continued rapid growth of the Internet.
Today, Internet policy is more important than ever before. The Internet
is at a critical juncture in its development. In many countries,
it is becoming a mass medium and as a result there is increasing
pressure on policy makers to regulate it like radio, television,
or other mass media. The Internet is more than just a means for
communications (through e-mail and instant messaging) and content
distribution (through the World Wide Web). It is becoming a platform
for collaboration and distributed computing. With this new phase
of development come new technical and policy challenges, and even
more need for the kind of advice and education that the Internet
Society can provide.
The Internet Society is committed to working with governments, industry,
and Internet users around the world to ensure that the Internet
develops in a way that ensures that all Internet users can harness
the full power of the Internet. Accordingly, we work to ensure that
all users enjoy the following:
Join the Internet Society today: www.isoc.org/members
- The Ability to Connect - We want to preserve the essential, end-to-end
nature of the Internet and will oppose efforts to establish standards
or practices that would make it difficult or impossible for some
users of the Internet to use the full range of applications being
developed for Internet users.
The Ability to Speak - The Internet offers a powerful tool for
self-expression and is becoming a new mass medium. We will work
to ensure that the Internet will continue to allow private and where
appropriate, anonymous, means of communication and collaboration.
Accordingly, we will oppose efforts to censor what Internet users
can read or distribute over the Net.
The Ability to Innovate - The explosive growth of the Internet
and the incredible variety of Internet applications are a direct
result of the fact that the key standards for the Internet and the
Web are open.
Any company, regardless of size or location, has been able to develop
and distribute its new "killer application" for the Internet.
We will oppose efforts by government and others to restrict how
technology can evolve in the future.
The Ability to Share - The many-to-many nature of the Internet
makes it a powerful tool for sharing, education, and collaboration.
It has enabled the global community that developed many of the key
technological components of the Internet, such as the Domain Name
System, the Web, and Apache (the most common Web server software).
Accordingly, we will foster new technologies and oppose legislation
that would limit the well-established concept of fair use, which
is essential to scholarship, education, and collaboration.
The Ability to Choose - The growth of the Internet has been fastest
where markets are the most free and open. Unfortunately, in too
many countries, particularly many less developed countries that
could most benefit from the power of the Internet, government regulation
and the economic power of incumbent telecom monopolies severely
limit the ability of new competitors to provide new, better, cheaper,
and innovative Internet-related services. We will continue to advocate
for government policies that foster competition in telecommunication
services, Internet service provision, Internet-related software,
and e-commerce applications. By fostering the competition, government
can stimulate innovation in the proprietary and open-source software
that make the Internet - and Internet applications - possible.