The United States joined more than 50 countries Thursday in launching an initiative to protect a safe and free internet, as authoritarian governments like Russia restrict access to digital information on the rise.
The so-called Declaration on the Future of the Internet (DFI) seeks to restore the “enormous promise” of the Internet, rejecting the “rise of digital authoritarianism” to ensure that democracy is strengthened, privacy is protected, and a free global economy is strengthened, the White House said.
This goal is threatened by increasing cases of governments suppressing freedom of expression and access to news, spreading misinformation or shutting down the Internet, the statement said.
In recent months, since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Moscow has “vigorously encouraged disinformation at home and abroad, censored Internet news sources, blocked or shut down legitimate websites, and even attacked Ukraine’s Internet infrastructure,” a senior official in the Joe Biden administration told reporters. .
“Russia is not alone,” the official said, also quoting China.
More than 55 countries have joined this initiative, including developed countries such as Germany, Australia, Canada, France, Japan and the United Kingdom, along with others under development, such as Argentina, Cyprus, Slovenia, Kenya and Montenegro, as well as Ukraine.
Although the declaration is not legally binding, it sets out “fundamental principles” and “obligates governments to promote an Internet that is open, free, global, interoperable, reliable and secure for the world,” another senior Biden administration official said.
These efforts are aimed at combating Internet fragmentation, but will “respect the regulatory independence” of each country, the official said.
The advertisement also points to the need to ensure affordable access to disadvantaged groups.
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