A Special Message of Hope

July 4th, 2001

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

INTERNATIONAL BOOKBURNING IN PROGRESS

Free speech is under siege at the margins of the Internet.

Hacktivismo and the CULT OF THE DEAD COW have decided that enough is too much. We are hackers and free speech advocates, and we are developing technologies to challenge state-sponsored censorship of the Internet.

Most countries use intimidation and filtering of one kind or another including the Peoples Republic of China, Cuba, and many Islamic countries. Most claim to be blocking pornographic content. But the real reason is to prevent challenging content from spreading through repressive regimes. This includes information ranging from political opinion, "foreign" news, women's issues, academic and scholarly works, religious information, information regarding ethnic groups in disfavor, news of human rights abuses, documents which present drugs in a positive light, and gay and lesbian content, among others.

THE HACKTIVISMO DECLARATION:

assertions of liberty in support of an uncensored internet.

DEEPLY ALARMED that state-sponsored censorship of the Internet is rapidly spreading with the assistance of transnational corporations,

TAKING AS A BASIS the principles and purposes enshrined in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)

TAKING NOTE that transnational corporations continue to sell information technologies to the world's most repressive regimes knowing full well that they will be used to track and control an already harried citizenry,

TAKING INTO ACCOUNT that the Internet is fast becoming a method of repression rather than an instrument of liberation,

BEARING IN MIND that in some countries it is a crime to demand the right to access lawfully published information, and of other basic human rights,

RECALLING that member states of the United Nations have failed to press the world's most egregious information rights violators to a higher standard,

MINDFUL that denying access to information could lead to spiritual, intellectual, and economic decline, the promotion of xenophobia and destabilization of international order,

CONCERNED that governments and transnationals are colluding to maintain the status quo,

DEEPLY ALARMED that world leaders have failed to address information rights issues directly and without equivocation,

RECOGNIZING the importance to fight against human rights abuses with respect to reasonable access to information on the Internet,

THEREFORE WE ARE CONVINCED that the international hacking community has a moral imperative to act, and

WE DECLARE:

* THAT FULL RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS AND FUNDAMENTAL FREEDOMS INCLUDES THE LIBERTY OF FAIR AND REASONABLE ACCESS TO INFORMATION, WHETHER BY SHORTWAVE RADIO, AIR MAIL, SIMPLE TELEPHONY, THE GLOBAL INTERNET, OR OTHER MEDIA.

* THAT WE RECOGNIZE THE RIGHT OF GOVERNMENTS TO FORBID THE PUBLICATION OF PROPERLY CATEGORIZED STATE SECRETS, CHILD PORNOGRAPHY, AND MATTERS RELATED TO PERSONAL PRIVACY AND PRIVILEDGE, AMONG OTHER ACCEPTED RESTRICTIONS. BUT WE OPPOSE THE USE OF STATE POWER TO CONTROL ACCESS TO THE WORKS OF CRITICS, INTELLECTUALS, ARTISTS, OR RELIGIOUS FIGURES.

* THAT STATE SPONSORED CENSORSHIP OF THE INTERNET ERODES PEACEFUL AND CIVILIZED COEXISTENCE, AFFECTS THE EXERCISE OF DEMOCRACY, AND ENDANGERS THE SOCIOECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT OF NATIONS.

* THAT STATE-SPONSORED CENSORSHIP OF THE INTERNET IS A SERIOUS FORM OF ORGANIZED AND SYSTEMATIC VIOLENCE AGAINST CITIZENS, IS INTENDED TO GENERATE CONFUSION AND XENOPHOPIA, AND IS A REPREHENSIBLE VIOLATION OF TRUST.

* THAT WE WILL STUDY WAYS AND MEANS OF CIRCUMVENTING STATE SPONSORED CENSORSHIP OF THE INTERNET AND WILL IMPLEMENT TECHNOLOGIES TO CHALLENGE INFORMATION RIGHTS VIOLATIONS.

Issued by Hacktivismo and the CULT OF THE DEAD COW / NINJA STRIKE FORCE. Edited for clarity.

We will have more to say.

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