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New Yorkers Signing on to Internet Freedom

Media reform group Free Press is promoting "Internet barbecues"
Media reform group Free Press is promoting "Internet barbecues"
July 26, 2012

NEW YORK - They're calling this "The Summer of Internet Freedom," and backers of a worldwide movement to establish a Declaration of Internet Freedom are encouraging people to host barbecues where the conversation will be about how to keep the Web open and free from government or corporate interference. Firms like Union Square Ventures and groups like New York Tech Meetup are endorsing the campaign for a set of principles guarding the Internet.

Tech Meetup chairman Andrew Rasiej tells why he's on board.

"The open Internet offers the most exciting and comprehensive vehicle for re-energizing the American economy, creating jobs, building a 21st-century public education system and potentially re-invigorating democracy."

The declaration itself is a work in progress, open to editing. Volunteers are translating it into foreign languages and looking for global input. It is not certain how the concept of an "Internet barbecue" will translate, but organizers think it can certainly catch on in the U.S.

Josh Levy of the group Free Press, which helped draft the document, encourages people who like to grill food in the backyard to invite friends and neighbors over to a barbecue with a purpose.

"Print out a copy of the declaration, mark it up, remix it, take a picture of yourself with it, take a picture of yourself holding your favorite principle - expression, access, innovation, openness or privacy."

Levy says the proposed document does not name any Internet enemies or threats.

"That's because those threats can come from a lot of different corners. Sometimes overreaching government policy is what we should be concerned about. Sometimes the actions of private corporations are something that we should be concerned about. More often its some sort of combination of the two."

Congressman Daryl Issa (R-California) and Sen. Ron Wyden of (D-Oregon) are among those who have endorsed the Declaration of Internet Freedom.

Mark Scheerer, Public News Service - NY