The Founding Fathers recognized that citizens’ right to privacy over their “persons, houses, papers, and effects” is an essential component of democracy. Although they did not envision the advent of the Internet, the same protections should extend to our online activities. The reality is that our laws have lagged far behind our technological capabilities, resulting in widespread encroachment on our civil liberties.
To make matters worse, Congress has been asleep at the switch while the federal government has expanded the security state and private companies have run amok in storing and selling our data. With the revelations that the executive branch is collecting warrantless metadata on American citizens, there has been growing bipartisan support for legislation to strengthen civil liberties.
Specifically limiting the reach of the National Security Administration (NSA) is a critical first step – but I believe we need to go farther. That’s why I’ve proposed a comprehensive Internet Bill of Rights. The primary goals are to ensure net neutrality, protect citizens from warrantless government mass surveillance, and provide consumers with more control over their personal data:
These six principles will help to mend the trust deficit between the people and their government, as well as between consumers and service providers. But it’s going to take all of us standing together and putting pressure on Congress to make this proposal a reality.