Computers, Freedom, and Privacy

Some thoughts from Susy Struble:

The obvious difficult aspect to this project will be gathering and presenting a coherent set of policy points that have some level of consensus, yet permitting (and even encouraging) dissent on some level of finer points. We do not expect, nor are we trying to achieve, consensus on everything. The next difficult aspect is how to use the Web to make this process accurate, efficient and manageable.

We'll refine the guiding principles and suggested actions on the CFP wiki, but my real hope is to get enough interest and committed volunteers to make this into a more robust project with an interactive web site that allows citizens to add their input and sign the letter, with volunteer moderators shepherding along each Technology Policy section. We'd need a lot of committed volunteer elbow grease to make that happen, however....

My initial suggestions for topics are further below. My suggested format is as follows (and I understand this might be too complex a format to achieve):

Item Level of general agreement
Technology Policy Topics @ 95% agreement
Definition/one or two sentences of clarification, if even needed less agreement
Guiding Principles, or “things under this topic that should be addressed” even less agreement
Suggested action, might leave this to be fully publicly created and edited least agreement

An admittedly poor example of this template in action would be:

Tech Policy Topic Competition Policy (95% agreement)
Definition Competition law and free trade agreements are intrinsically entwined with Technology Policy less agreement
Guiding Principles Competition aspects of Technology Policy should be guided by the recognition of the economic network effect and the need to protect the cross-border, collaborative aspects of the global knowledge economy and innovation as well as the validity of existing multilateral agreements even less agreement
Suggested Actions One suggestion is to promote interoperability and the public good by requiring all standards organizations operating under U.S. law to adhere to ex ante licensing and disclosure policies and to provide an FTC template for such policies (these suggested actions might be on a separate page in order to improve the readability of the main letter and to permit as much public input as possible. These would be moderated, and the moderator might bundle together similar suggestions, TBD, again in order to improve coherence) least agreement


IT should be a utility: ubiquitous, reasonably and consistently priced, generative and useful, accessible to all, safe, and a tool for industry and life rather than an end in itself. We believe this goal – computing as a utility – should guide technology developers as well as policymakers, who are often unfamiliar with technologies they are asked to regulate.

The following Technology Policy categories include a few guiding principles along with suggested actions. Where applicable, supporters of the purpose of this Letter have included their thoughts – either to support and add additional notes or to point out some reservations or complete disagreement – along with the category. To read these (or add your own), just follow the provided links.

Innovation Policy (category) :(guiding principle) Recognition of the different requirements of the “knowledge-based economy” and the need for a more balanced and nuanced protection of IP, which must be reflected in international efforts like trade agreements, WIPO, etc. Recognize and facilitate open collaboration in innovation as well as proprietary models :(suggested actions) Copyright and Patent Reform #ties to network neutrality #address the use of proprietary interfaces and lack of interoperability as anti-competitive behavior

Trade Policy

Promote access to medicines for people around the world
Promote research into medicines for diseases that afflict the world's poor
Support access to educational materials in the developing world
(suggested actions)

Competition Policy

IT & the Environment


Environment :promote IT use to help improve energy efficiency and waste reduction, with emphasis on sector-specific initiatives (e.g. transport, buildings) :need for national level regulation on ewaste, reduction of hazardous substances :Energy Star program :need for international engagement

Governance and Global Institutions :WIPO :WTO :ICANN :UN/IGF :Human Rights and the Internet

National Initiatives

National Health Information Network
Maximize contribution of IT to other national goals (e.g. learning, health, governance)

Wireless Networks and Spectrum Policy

Technology Policy Structure & Process (how policy decisions are made, funded, managed)

R&D Policy

National Governance Issues

Government as the largest service provider in the U.S. (“e-government” services)
Access to public documents and services, and access irrespective of underlying platform
Transparency, accountability, representation and participation
Electronic Voting
Enforce E-Government Act

The Digital Self: Digital Identity, Personal Information, Privacy & Freedom of Expression

Society: Cyberterrorism, Crime, and Protecting Children in a Networked World


Network Neutrality