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Principles for Internet Policy

Howard Dean

Of all the candidates for the Democratic nomination, Howard Dean raised the most amount of money over the Internet. On March 15th, the Dean campaign launched the first official weblog in presidential campaign history, six days after Dean himself first stumped in the blogosphere. What follows are Dean's principles for Internet Policy.

This nation — and not just this nation — needs to have an honest conversation about what's real, possible and desirable when it comes to the gift of the Internet. Conversations need shared ground. Here are the beliefs we think should guide the development of a fact-based federal policy. We put these forward as part of a continuing Great American Conversation.

1. No one owns the Internet

The Internet does not exist for the unique benefit of any group or economic interest. It is ours as citizens of this country and as inhabitants of this planet.

2. Everyone should be connected

The social, economic, and educational advantages of being on the Internet are real. Universal Internet access regardless of economic or geographic position should be a federal goal.

3. The Internet's value comes from its openness

The Internet provides a new possibility of global access to an unprecedented sum of human knowledge. It is the responsibility of this generation to make sure that knowledge is available for innovation in business and culture.

4. The Internet's openness should be promoted

The Internet was initially designed as a way of moving bits without preferring some bits to others. Network architects call this principle "end-to-end" networking.  That way, anyone with a good idea - or a bad one - can build it and see if it works. This openness is essential to the Internet's value as a marketplace of innovation and a public square for ideas.

5. The Internet is a democracy of voices, not primarily a broadcast medium

Although the Internet certainly can be used to broadcast messages and programs from one spot to hundreds of millions of others, its most important effect socially and economically is its transformation of the broadcast model. Rather than "freedom of the press belonging to those who own one," everyone now can reach everyone else. The Internet is encouraging people to speak up, in their own voice, about what matters to them. This empowerment of human voice and conversation is profoundly in line with the ideals of American democracy.

6. The Internet is not perfectible

The Internet is not perfect and it never will be. It is a global network providing possibility of connecting to geniuses and pickpockets and worse. We need to work to root out illegal and malicious uses of the Internet and the exploitation of children and other vulnerable members of our society.

7. The Internet is just at the beginning

Although the Internet has connected 700,000,000 people worldwide, it is just at its beginning. We need to recognize that no one yet knows the true potential of the Internet. And we need to support the political and technological policies that will help the Internet grow to its true capacity as a force for democracy world-wide.

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Reproduced with permission from Dean for America national campaign headquarters.

By Howard Dean, US Democratic Presidential Candidate
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Share your comments

Re: Principles for Internet Policy Prndll  –  Oct 09, 2003 7:27 PM PDT

This is "exactly" why I would NEVER give this man my vote. Read between the lines people. This man is seeking the ultimate political throne in the world. There are very scary thoughts behind his words. I would not EVER want this man in control. He WILL take the internet and turn it into a way to control things, people, and information.

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