Letter to the Internet Community: IOIC - "For an Open Internet"

David J. Farber Peter G. Neumann Lauren Weinstein

January 8, 2006

A Letter to the Internet Community

IOIC - International Open Internet Coalition

"For an Open Internet"

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The marvel that is the Internet is under an increasing barrage of policy, regulatory, and related technologically-enabled attacks against its fundamental open-access, "end-to-end" operational model. Under the auspices of PFIR (People For Internet Responsibility), we have established a new organization -- the International Open Internet Coalition (IOIC) -- dedicated to the proposition that the Internet should remain an open and neutral resource, free from unreasonable interference or restrictions on the actions of businesses, organizations, individuals, or others related to their access or use of the Internet.

IOIC has been created as an entity to serve the common interests of everyone concerned about the increasing levels of restrictions being planned or implemented relating to the Internet and its users. Such parties and stakeholders are likely to include all manner of Web/Internet-based and other businesses, educational and non-profit organizations, regulatory and government entities, individual Internet users, and many others.

We cordially invite your participation in what will be a major, ongoing effort for establishing, preserving, and promoting the critical concepts of an Open Internet.

The attacks on the Open Internet model -- now seeming to spring forth daily from a variety of powerful entities -- threaten to permanently cripple or destroy the very aspects of the Internet that have turned it into an indispensable utility for all manner of commerce, speech, education, communication, entertainment, and many other major aspects of people's lives.

Around the world, both domestic governments and increasingly large and consolidated Internet Service Providers (ISPs) -- including ILECS, cable companies, and other telecommunications firms engaging in ISP activities -- restrict or threaten to restrict their citizens and Internet users from access to outside Web services of all sorts. The list of affected services includes search engines, e-commerce sites, databases, e-mail, VoIP, audio and video streaming/downloading, P2P and other legitimate file sharing applications, discussion forums, and a wide range of others.

These have become the targets of controls and censorship directed against the free flow of commerce, communications, free speech, and other activities, implemented via throttling and limiting bandwidth to subscribers and/or by totally blocking or disrupting specific services and communication types.

In some cases, these moves are part of restrictive regulatory or political agendas. In other cases, these actions or threats of restrictions are key to carefully calculated plans by ISPs to give "walled garden" preferential treatment to their own service offerings, and to extract "premium access" fees from remote Web services and other Internet services who are not their subscribers.

The range of issues that are of concern is vast, but the common thread is clear. An Internet that is increasingly biased away from being a neutral and open resource is at risk for serious degradation of its commercial and social values and usefulness, and is ripe for massive and dangerous abuses.

Our hope and expectation is that IOIC, by providing a focal point for education, information, discussion, brainstorming, and strategic planning relating to these issues, will be an effective force for helping to assure the best possible Internet not only for its services and users today, but for the future as well.

To participate in this effort or for more information, please send an appropriate note (which will be read by a human!) to:


or feel free to contact Lauren by phone (09:30-17:30 PST) via:

+1 (818) 225-2800

Thank you very much for your consideration.


David Farber snipped-for-privacy@farber.net

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Career Professor of Computer Science and Public Policy, Carnegie Mellon University Tel: +1 (412) 726-9889

Peter G. Neumann snipped-for-privacy@csl.sri.com

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Scientist - Computer Science Lab,=20 SRI International Co-Founder, People For Internet Responsibility -
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ACM Committee on Computers and Public Policy Tel: +1 (650) 859-2375

Lauren Weinstein snipped-for-privacy@vortex.com

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People For Internet Responsibility -
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PRIVACY Forum Member, ACM Committee on Computers and Public Policy Tel: +1 (818) 225-2800

(Affiliations shown for identification purposes only.)

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