The United States has joined a new consortium of nations focused on keeping the global internet free from disinformation and censorship.
The consortium’s stated principles follow broadly in line with historical U.S. support for broad internet freedoms and multi-stakeholder governance, and take aim at nations like Russia and China that adopt policies to restrict access to content or that seek to create “walled” online services inside their countries.
The Declaration for the Future of the Internet – announced by the White House on April 28 – vows to actively support a future for the Internet that is open, free, global, interoperable, reliable, and secure. In addition, the coalition and its dozens of member countries affirmed their commitment to protecting and respecting human rights online and across the digital ecosystem.
“Partners in this Declaration intend to work toward an environment that reinforces our democratic systems and promotes active participation of every citizen in democratic processes, secures and protects individuals’ privacy, maintains secure and reliable connectivity, resists efforts to splinter the global Internet, and promotes a free and competitive global economy,” the declaration states.
The declaration references several threats to a free internet including: the rise in the spread of online disinformation and cybercrimes; user privacy concerns as vast troves of personal data are collected online; and platforms that have enabled an increase in the spread of illegal or harmful content.
The declaration states that the group and its member countries intend to work together to protect and fortify the multistakeholder system of Internet governance and to maintain a “high level of security, privacy protection, stability, and resilience of the technical infrastructure of the Internet.”
The nonbinding declaration was signed by over 55 nations including all the E.U. member states, the United Kingdom, and Ukraine. The group is looking to welcome more countries into its membership as operations continue.