Internet Constitution

The End column, the Australian Industry Standard
Issue 8, 28 August, 2000
by Neale Morison

We the netizens of the Internet, in order to form a more perfect network, establish justice, insure tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of bandwidth to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the Internet and those networks which shall follow it.

All netizens shall be entitled to undreamed-of wealth in compensation for such premises, patents, concepts, schemes, implementations, applications, and scams as they shall devise.

All property, intellectual or otherwise, shall be downloadable free of capitation, tax, excise or duty.

Development shall strive to extend the boundaries of cyberexperience, challenging every sense, muscle and nerve fibre with an ever more complex multimedia environment that propels the most advanced platform to its ultimate limits.

Standards shall ensure that no netizen is discriminated against on the basis of physical or mental infirmity, wealth, technical proficiency, bandwidth or megaflops.

Each operating system, browser and box shall seek to provide unique and extraordinary features especially benefiting their users, and by virtue of such competition shall advancement take place.

Standards shall guarantee that all platforms are equal and none supported above any other.

Research and development shall be funded by massive investment from the netizenry, who shall be rewarded with dividends from their share holdings.

Research and development shall take place without expectation or hope of reward and its fruits shall be distributed without charge.

All infrastructure shall be publicly funded, subsidised or granted monopoly protection to ensure its viability.

All revenues shall be strictly privatised that the business of wealth generation might be carried on by those experienced in commerce and shall not constitute a drain on the public purse.

The executive and judicial power of the Internet shall be vested equally in all its netizens, who shall strive together to promote the common good. No government, standards authority or commercial organisation shall have conferred upon it absolute authority for any area of Internet activity.

Responsibility for any calamity shall reside with a government, standards authority or commercial organisation. Failing the identification of a likely culprit from among the usual suspects the blame shall fall upon Bill Gates. Should some regulatory error remove him from circulation a standards committee shall be convened to reinvent him.

(Amendment XVI: Actual control of the Internet shall devolve upon a secret elite whose identities can never be revealed for reasons of highest network security.)

(Amendment XVII: They shall be the same bastards who run everything else.)

The client is sacrosanct, and shall flourish under the protection of the sandbox for all time.

Vendors are entitled to package clandestine file system scanning and data gathering facilities in their free Trojan horse novelty applications to the extent that they remain undiscovered. Any netizen who downloads and runs such a package shall by doing so forfeit all custody and control of the client environment and materials stored thereon.

The Internet shall be a safe, powerful and secure system, impermeable even unto nuclear attack.

Should any netizen bring down the Internet by sending an email containing a small amount of code developed in a few spare moments, they shall suffer universal outrage and disapprobation, excepting insofar as they shall be admired for their cleverness and enterprise.

The Internet guarantees free speech to its netizens, and no information shall be deemed inappropriate, untruthful, obscene, incomprehensible, stupid, or so peppered with misspellings that it cannot possibly be taken seriously.

Censorship or suppression shall apply only in cases where bodies with a vested interest in limiting free communications succeed in gulling an unthinking public into believing that pornography and copyright infringement constitute a threat greater than that of censorship itself. Death to spammers.

Privacy shall be the right of every netizen.

Netizens are entitled to hack whatever information they can and put it to whatever use they deem fit on the basis that it should have been adequately protected and they are performing a public service by revealing the security loophole. Security agencies may freely invade privacy on the basis that whatever it is they are protecting is more important than the rights they are violating.

The rights of the individual shall be protected by a body of standard law.

It is the fundamental right of every netizen to do whatever seems like a good idea at the time, and consequently all laws and standards shall be entirely unenforceable.

Let's not forget mateship.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all netizens are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are an address, a connection and the pursuit of downloads.