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Issa Launches The Open Gov Foundation

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Monday, June 11 2012

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), and Andrew Rasiej. Photo: Esty Stein / PDM

California Congressman Darrell Issa, a prominent advocate for Internet users, open government, and transparency issues unveiled a new initiative Monday called the Open Gov Foundation.

The Foundation builds on much of the work previously done by the California Republican's office, but this new effort is meant to institutionalize the work beyond his time in office, he said during a conversation with Personal Democracy Media's Publisher Andrew Rasiej at PDM's annual conference in New York City and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).

Also new is a proposed Digital Bill of Rights, the main bullet points of which are below:

1.) Freedom – digital citizens have a right to a free, uncensored Internet
2.) Openness – digital citizens have a right to an open, unobstructed Internet
3.) Equality – all digital citizens are created equal on the Internet
4.) Participation – digital citizens have a right to peaceably participate where and how they choose on the Internet
5.) Creativity – digital citizens have a right to create, grow and collaborate on the internet, and be held accountable for what they create
6.) Sharing – digital citizens have a right to freely share their ideas, lawful discoveries and opinions on the Internet
7.) Accessibility – digital citizens have a right to access the internet equally, regardless of who they are or where they are
8.) Association – digital citizens have a right to freely associate on the Internet
9.) Privacy – digital citizens have a right to privacy on the Internet
10.) Property – digital citizens have a right to benefit from what they create, and be secure in their intellectual property on the Internet

One of Issa's flagship digital transparency initiatives is Project Madison, which is a platform for crowdsourcing comments on legislation. Issa's office has posted the digital bill of rights up on Madison and is soliciting input from the public there.

Unlike many of their colleagues who either supported or didn't have a position on the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act and the Protect IP Act, which were defeated by mass protests online and off in January, the two congressmen actively opposed those two pieces of legislation.

On Monday, they appealed to people who care about the Internet to keep up the momentum, and to keep engaged in the conversation to craft balanced legislation that protects the privacy and First Amendment rights of Internet users everywhere.

For his part, Wyden said Monday that the Digital Bill of Rights would be a useful measure by which to judge the impact of legislation such as the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, a legislative proposal currently being considered in Congress that would enable private ISPs to share potential threat information emerging from their user base with the federal government without fear of being sued by their users for violating their privacy.

This post has been updated.

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