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[liberationtech] italian internet bill of rights and consultation

stefi m stefi at
Fri Sep 28 20:52:02 PDT 2012

Hello everyone

the Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research has launched a
public consultation on the fundamental principles of the net [1].

The text is rather progressive, and intends to be a sort of bill of rights
of the internet [2]. Of course it arrives with quite some delay (the
Italian government has not been particularly active on the topic; and when
it was, it wasn't for the better. For example, an Italian law decree was
the precursor of the infamous EU data retention directive). However, the
process of creating the text was interesting. It was, if you like, a case
of what Arne Hintz has called "policy hacking" - an academic/activist (me)
was asked to write the text, which was then shared with a bunch of experts
of open data, internet governance, open source. There is still room for
improvement, and that's why the consultation was launched. The
consultation is online, and crowd-based (we decided to use ideascale).

The text includes 22 sections, divided in five major themes: I) general
principles; II) digital citizenship; III) users and consumers of the net;
IV) production and circulation of digital contents; V) security on the

Unfortunately, at the moment the text is only available in Italian. Below
I provide a rough overview of the main contents. The national newspaper La
Repubblica praised it saying that is sounds like a North-European text and
that "it should be read it all schools" [3].

Feel free to ask should you be curious, have some help/advice to offer, or
want to share similar processes.

The Citizen Lab, University of Toronto
Advisor, Ministry of Education, University and Research (Italy)


(Rough) overview of the Italian document on the "general principles of the

I) The general principles include: Internet as a global common good;
Internet as an instrument for the development and exercise of human
rights; Net neutrality and open architecture; Benefits of technology and
of the net; Transparent decision-making and multi-stakeholder governance.

II) The theme "digital citizenship" includes: Access to infrastructure
regardless of the residence; Public access points; access to and re-use of
public sector data (including data from publicly-funded research); An
accessible internet as a tool for inclusion; Human rights and fundamental
freedoms on the net and through the net; Self-organization and autonomy of
individuals on the net

III) Consumers and users of the net includes: Digital skills (intended
broadly as education to the critical use of technology); Digital identity;
Privacy; Access, storage and cancellation of personal data

IV) Production and circulation of digital contents: Sharing of contents
and knowledge on the net; Intellectual property in a digital environment

V) Security: Infrastructure of national interest; Cybersecurity; Internet,
crisis communication and rescue operations; Protection of vulnerable

In my view the most interesting and progressive parts concerns the section
on intellectual property; self-organization and autonomy of individuals
and groups on the net; an emphasis on a critical approach to technology in
education programs; an emphasis on disability and inclusion.

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