DIgital Bill of Rights Briefing

1) At 2.00pm on Thursday 12th May 2016, a cross-party campaign for the Digital Bill of Rights is being launched in Committee Room 16 at the Houses of Parliament. Over the summer, members of the British public will be asked to crowd-source the text of the Digital Bill of Rights by choosing, amending or suggesting clauses on this project’s website. They will be helped in this task by the website’s compilation of clauses from other existing or proposed charters of digital liberties sorted by their subject, e.g. privacy, free speech, education and access. The final version of the Digital Bill of Rights will be drawn up with the help of expert lawyers and then introduced as draft legislation in the next session of the British parliament.

2) The campaign for the Digital Bill of Rights emerged from the 23rd March 2015 People’s Parliament/Cybersalon about Snowden’s NSA/GCHQ revelations. The speakers were Tom Watson MP, Richard Barbrook from Cybersalon, Duncan Campbell, Nick Pickles of Big Brother Watch and Birgitta Jónsdóttir from the Icelandic Pirate Party. During the evening, both the panel and the audience repeatedly stressed that the NSA/GCHQ’s mass surveillance was an outrageous infringement of our human rights. Inspired by this insistence, Cybersalon began the process which would lead to this campaign for the Digital Bill of Rights.

People’s Parliament Digital Citizenship

3) In April 2015, after discussions among its activists, Cybersalon drew up a draft of the Digital Bill of Rights to encourage debate about digital liberties. The 8 clauses of this initial draft covered topics of concern for social media activists like big data, mass surveillance, copyright reform and digital education. Richard Barbrook’s Digital Citizenship: from liberal privilege to democratic emancipation outlined the historical precedents of this 21st century initiative. Over the past year, this draft of the Digital Bill of Rights has been discussed with ORG (Open Rights Group), Open Democracy, Big Brother Watch, Liberty, Demos and Digital Shoreditch.

Digital Bill of Rights UK Digital Citizenship

4) Tim Berners-Lee – the founding father of the web – has already called for the adoption of a 2015 Magna Carta for the Digital Age. In April 2014, following the exposure of the NSA’s spying on president Dilma Rousseff, the Brazilian federal legislature voted overwhelmingly to adopt a national charter of digital liberties: Marco Civil da Internet. Inspired by this precedent, the Italian parliament is now formulating on its own Declaration of Internet Rights. During summer 2016, Die Zeit newspaper is planning to launch a cross-party initiative for the German version of an Internet bill of rights. The British campaign for the Digital Bill of Rights is committed to collaborating with all groups both here and abroad advocating a legal framework for protecting and nurturing individual freedoms within the information society.

Magna Carta 2015 Marco Civil (English Version) Italian draft declaration of Internet Rights

5) If you and your colleagues would like to attend the 12thMay 2016 launch of the Digital Bill of Rights at the Houses of Parliament – or you require more information about this important initiative, please contact:

Eva Pascoe


Richard Barbrook


We look forward to seeing you there!

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