Corvida Raven

Community Catalyst, TED Conferences


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Is the Internet due for a “Magna Carta moment?”

Yesterday at TEDGlobal 2011, Senior Fellow and Speaker Rebecca MacKinnon asked the audience, is the Internet due for a "Magna Carta moment?".

We're extending this question to the TED Conversations community! Looking forward to hearing your thoughts.

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    Jul 19 2011: Corvida,here is a link to the findings and recommendations of the special rapporteur to the UN Human Rights Commission on which the General Assembly resolution declaring access to the internet a fundamental human right was based


    This very wise and thorough report is in many ways the magna carta sought..or at least a good start on one.
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    Jul 18 2011: the UN General Assembly last month declared access to it a fundamental human right. It is, of course, the World Wide Web

    Not that they have done such a great job upholding the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, but ordinary folk could put pressure on the U.N. to require open access with no censorshop as a condition of all members. That's a TED idea worth spreading
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    Jul 17 2011: The internet is the digital mirror of our global world. Here are two aspects I suggest we can put our minds to work in making it a reality:

    1. Trusting our leaders today with our complex problems also requires an organized information and social network systems that reinforces our democratic principles of justice (accountability) and truth (transparency). We attack our problems in all fronts: (1) Put out crises and avoid devastating risks (2) leaders formulate and implement a just political and economic system (3) leaders transform our industries (4) we the people participate and make our governments work and (5) we directly participate in our individual or collective capacities in transforming our world.

    2. What I think we need to see also is an information system that shows the progress of all our efforts so that many of us can contribute in the part of our solutions that needs more focus. With our digital world today, we have the power to do it.

    On the web, on the day that we're hitting high the websites that are dedicated to transforming our world (like,,, that will be the day I believe that our work and our hope is standing on solid grounds.

    As of today there are about 2 billion internet users in the world. How are we doing so far?
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    Jul 17 2011: Hi Covida!!! Are you at TED 2011???

    I listened to Rebecca's talk..and of course see much along the same vein all over as well as the huge hue and cry here at TED Conversations that every Admin enforcement of the "terms of Use" is censorship.

    Yes of course, we want and need the internet to be uncensored but as long as governmnet licensing of anykind is involved there will be censorship. The right wing is even trying to close down public broadcasting and the few remaining community radio stations.

    In my late teens to mid twenties when I visited my uncle in London often, there was only "state radio"There was no other licensing allowed. Poplar music and altenate news came via "prpirate ships" anchored off shore outside of territorial waters.

    I think the pure uncensored freedom we wnat from the internet where access is user controlled and cenetered. isn't going to come from a user magna carta but through provider investment in technology that is "extra global"..e.g. satellites. Not clear whether there is enough revenue in providing these services and in the continual growth of demand to enable unlimited free access at most cites and contiued low fees for providers but that is the only way I see the kind of censorship free global internet we all want coming into being.

    I don't see user demand in the form of a "magna carta" driving the system because I don't see an empahsis world wide in demanding free speech and a healthy fourth estate. It didn't happen in Egypt and Tunisia. The egyptian government now is no closer to what those young people hoped for when they stormed Tahir Sq. All the internet did for them was get them there. Where is the movement the energy the striong commitment and backlas that will change that in Egypt? It's just not there.

    And then ther's the obvious..w e supposedly are a nation with free speech..without censorship..but look hwo filtered and biased. manipulated and just plain wrong our diet of information is.
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    Jul 16 2011: The Internet is most useful if we see it as a "dumb pipe" that each of us can use in ways that best suit us, whoever we are and wherever we are, in groupings or as individuals. The basic structures that govern the technical aspects and protocols that make the thing work are already in place, even if there is room for improvement. Beyond that, I believe, the Internet is best left alone. Things will sort themselves out.
  • Jul 16 2011: No.
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    Jul 15 2011: Love the concept of a global Carta Magna!, let's start with the Internet!
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    Jul 14 2011: Renaissance not revolution. Wasn't the intention of the magna carta initially to protect the wealthy..? History has a funny way of being updated and romanticised..
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      Jul 17 2011: it was to hold rulers accountable to the will and needs of the curb the power of the monarchy
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        Jul 17 2011: From what little I've read about it, it was designed to protect the interests of the next level of nobility down from the King. I don't think the peasantry were even included.

        I think the plague had a greater impact by altering the supply and demand of manual labour and lifting wages and messing with land tenure.

        Either way, signing bits of paper won't stop governments and owners from trying to control the use of the internet for profit's sake. Intellectual Property laws will have to be changed (destroyed?), not strengthened.
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          Jul 18 2011: Well, I am a tiny bit encouraged that The U.N. General Assembly declaredaccess to the internet a fundamental hman right...we could all hold their feet to the fire on that one..maybe it's time the U.N. became a target for grass roots activists ....????
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        Jul 18 2011: An interesting perspective:
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    Jul 14 2011: I would like to say that the internet is capable of the kind of revolution that was brought about by the Magna Carta, but I do not see it as a possibility. To change the laws to better support the masses instead of the "ruling class" would require an overhaul of the system and how we operate within it. Our privacy is not great on the internet as it is, and with the amount of control that would be needed for a change of the guard like the Magna Carta, we would lose the rest of the little privacy we have left. Besides that, the internet is global and not that easily controlled and is not used by all the same way. To create laws that restrict certain things will cause unknown perils in other places because of their usage. To me, Eric Schmidt said it best, “The Internet is the first thing that humanity has built that humanity doesn't understand, the largest experiment in anarchy that we have ever had.” How can we even try to control anarchy, or change it into something fathomable?