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WASHINGTON — On Thursday morning, the United States joined dozens of partner countries in signing the Declaration of the Future of the Internet, which sets forth a series of principles to promote a shared vision of a more open, affordable, secure and democratic internet. 

Among those principles are calls for Net Neutrality, affordable and inclusive internet access, and data-privacy protections. The declaration also includes condemnations of the spread of hate and disinformation, online discrimination and unlawful digital surveillance. Presenters at the signing ceremony stated that the declaration is in part a response to the rising global tide of digital authoritarianism.

Free Press Co-CEO Craig Aaron made the following statement:

“We applaud the Biden administration for recognizing the global importance of a free, open, inclusive and affordable internet — and the necessity of working across borders to ensure the rules, regulations and structures of the internet are designed to empower people, not oppress them. 

“This declaration points to a vision of the internet that puts people first. If acted upon, it would ensure that people everywhere can connect, communicate, organize and create new and amazing things that will benefit the entire world — not entrench the power of unaccountable billionaires and oligarchs. 

“We’re encouraged by the declaration’s strong statements of support for Net Neutrality, affordable and inclusive internet access, and data-privacy protections, and its decisive stance against the spread of hate and disinformation. 

“We hope the United States will take the necessary steps to live up to these ideals — protecting the free flow of information online, safeguarding our privacy, ending unlawful surveillance and making broadband affordable and available to everyone. Free Press will continue to work with Congress, and a fully functional FCC and FTC, to give the declaration the legal grounding and regulatory backbone it needs to be achieved in the United States.”

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