1.3. A Manifesto for a Decentralized Web

We BELIEVE…

  • that an individual’s control of their own selves is paramount. As our society advances, and as the slow merger of technology with our natural thoughts and actions progresses, the individual must be given the means assert control over their own virtual selves.
  • that the best form of assurance is personal control. The best way to keep the security of one’s data is to keep it within one’s own reach.
  • that the fair right to free and open communication cannot be abridged. Never before have we lived in an era where governments and corporations position themselves as such titanic gatekeepers of communication. These gatekeepers cannot be humanity’s intermediaries.
  • that the self must be strengthened so that society might flourish. We do not speak of resistance to control as vulgar individualists. Cohesion in society and benefit to all, regardless of race, creed, class or other hierarchy, cannot be attained without free and unthrottled communication.
  • that the amount of data gathered in one space is directly proportional to the amount of interest governments and corporations take to controlling it. Information is the new gold, whether it is sensitive personal data or minable marketing statistics. Anywhere it is amassed, there will be forces attempting to control it.
  • that the amount of data gathered in one space is directly proportional to the EASE with which governments and corporations can control it. One warrant is easier to get than one hundred, and one financially-interested company is easier to intimidate than one hundred individual users. Furthermore, the ease with which governments can directly intercept communications grows when they can connect themselves directly to these platforms.
  • that open development is the most reliable way to assure something’s working order. As we become more and more dependent on technology, it becomes easier to ignore its inner workings. Only technology developed according to “open source” principles can be verified to function in a safe and secure manner.
  • that the ability to keep communication or data private from others is a right. Whether its by an assured method like encryption, or simply by only publishing in a selective way, users who have not infringed on the rights of another should expect a default state of privacy.
  • that freedom of expression comes from the assertion of natural right, and is not given freely. Change will not occur unless it is demanded and fought for. Freedoms cannot be won without a path to be forged.

And we REJECT…

  • the growing necessity to rely on uncontrollable, unaccountable and unsecurable platform services. There must always be an “off” switch. There must always be an “opt out.” There must always be an option to secure your data from anyone. This can only be granted via absolute encryption or the decentralization of these platform services.
  • the default culture of complete and uncontrolled exposure that exists on the Internet. Whether enforced by government will or corporate greed, the notion of having to “opt in” to privacy must be vigorously opposed. In order to fight government monitoring and capitalist profiteering on our sensitive data, the Internet must be more decentralized and the monopoly of data control must be broken.
  • governmental and corporate control over communication. As stated before, governments and corporations cannot be trusted to act as humanity’s intermediaries. Any method by which a government can extrajudicially monitor communications must be resisted. Any method by which a corporation can enact a “paywall” to knowledge and exploit class divisions in society must be resisted.
  • centralized communication platforms of control and oversight. Any platform that allows our communications to be easily intercepted is, at the end of the day, an enemy to truly free expression.
  • software and tools that are “closed source,” not hackable or not open for public inspection. Whether its intended to aid capitalist competition or to serve as a weapon against others, closed source software is not acceptable on an open Internet.
  • the taking advantage of a user’s technical ignorance for personal gain. The lack of education regarding secure communications and encryption for the common user must be rectified if we are to see any substantial change. Proliferation of easy tools to ensure secure/private communication must be given the highest priority.

Therefore, we RESOLVE…

  • to force governments and corporations around the world to hear our voice. We refuse to play by your rules. We refuse to live in your walled gardens. We refuse to give our personal lives over to you for your profit. We will create the Internet that we want, and will communicate how we like.
  • to work with one another to build the next generation of the Internet. The technical obstacles to decentralization remain high. Through the development, education and testing of new software and technologies, we can bring ourselves over this roadblock and help create a better world.
  • to resist, in whatever manner we are capable, the centralization of the Internet, and the bulk, indiscriminate monitoring it is accompanied by. Whether this be through the general encryption of our data whenever possible, the forced removal of our accounts from the large platform services, or a mixture of the two, we will do our best to stand in the way.