Declaration of Digital Autonomy (draft 0.2)

We demand a world in which technology is created to protect and empower those who are impacted by it. Our technology must respect the rights and freedoms of those users. We need to take control for the purpose of collectively building a better world in which technology works in service to the good of human kind, protecting our rights and digital autonomy as individuals.

We have become more reliant than ever on the technology that we intertwine into every aspect of our lives. Technology is currently made not for us, those using it. Rather, it is for those who intend to monetize its use and own the associated intellectual property. Services are run via networked software on computers we never directly interact with. Our devices are designed to only function while broadcasting our intimate information regardless of whether the transmission of that information is necessary functionality. We generate data that we do not have access to, that is bought, sold, and traded between corporations and governments. Technologies we're increasingly being forced to use reinforce and amplify social inequalities. As schools and jobs go online, high speed computing, centralized services and Internet access become inescapably necessary. Technology is designed and implemented to oppress, often with sexist, classist, and racist implications. Rather than being served by these tools, we are instead in service to them. These gatekeepers of our technology are not individual people or public organizations who think about the well-being of others, but instead are corporations, governments and others with agendas that do not include our best interests. Our technology has become the basic infrastructure on which our society functions, and yet the individuals who use it have no say or control over its function.

It's time to change our digital destiny.

We therefore call for the adoption of the following principles for ethical technology:

We, as individuals, collectives, cultures, and societies, make this call in the rapidly changing face of technology and its deepening integration into our lives. As our connection to digital networks and to one another changes, our technology must support us not alienate us. We must forge our own digital destinies. Forming partnerships between technology makers and those using and impacted by those technologies is necessary to build the equitable, hopeful future we dream of.

We'd love to hear what you think! Let us know by emailing thoughts@ this domain.

We would like to thank the following people for their feedback and contribution: be, Willie Cade, Gabriella Coleman, gagz, William Gardella, Elana Hashman, Kit Heintzman, jookia, Ian Kelling, Robert Lefkowitz, Heidi P, Luc Rocher, Eric Schultz, Sean (wuphysics87), Doc Searles, Panagiotis "Ivory" Vasilopoulos, Christine Lemmer Webber, Mat K. Witts, Stefano Zacchiroli.

The Declaration of Digital Autonomy is (c) Molly de Blanc and Karen M. Sandler, 2020, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International.