La Déclaration d’indépendance du Cyberspace a 20 ans

La Déclaration d’indépendance du Cyberspace a 20 ans

Il y a 20 ans, le 8 février 1996, John Perry Barlow publiait un texte fondateur « La déclaration d’indépendance du Cyberspace » :

A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace

Governments of the Industrial World, you weary giants of flesh and steel, I come from Cyberspace, the new home of Mind. On behalf of the future, I ask you of the past to leave us alone. You are not welcome among us. You have no sovereignty where we gather.

We have no elected government, nor are we likely to have one, so I address you with no greater authority than that with which liberty itself always speaks. I declare the global social space we are building to be naturally independent of the tyrannies you seek to impose on us. You have no moral right to rule us nor do you possess any methods of enforcement we have true reason to fear.

Governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed. You have neither solicited nor received ours. We did not invite you. You do not know us, nor do you know our world. Cyberspace does not lie within your borders. Do not think that you can build it, as though it were a public construction project. You cannot. It is an act of nature and it grows itself through our collective actions.

You have not engaged in our great and gathering conversation, nor did you create the wealth of our marketplaces. You do not know our culture, our ethics, or the unwritten codes that already provide our society more order than could be obtained by any of your impositions.

You claim there are problems among us that you need to solve. You use this claim as an excuse to invade our precincts. Many of these problems don’t exist. Where there are real conflicts, where there are wrongs, we will identify them and address them by our means. We are forming our own Social Contract . This governance will arise according to the conditions of our world, not yours. Our world is different.

Cyberspace consists of transactions, relationships, and thought itself, arrayed like a standing wave in the web of our communications. Ours is a world that is both everywhere and nowhere, but it is not where bodies live.

We are creating a world that all may enter without privilege or prejudice accorded by race, economic power, military force, or station of birth.

We are creating a world where anyone, anywhere may express his or her beliefs, no matter how singular, without fear of being coerced into silence or conformity.

Your legal concepts of property, expression, identity, movement, and context do not apply to us. They are all based on matter, and there is no matter here.

Our identities have no bodies, so, unlike you, we cannot obtain order by physical coercion. We believe that from ethics, enlightened self-interest, and the commonweal, our governance will emerge . Our identities may be distributed across many of your jurisdictions. The only law that all our constituent cultures would generally recognize is the Golden Rule. We hope we will be able to build our particular solutions on that basis. But we cannot accept the solutions you are attempting to impose.

In the United States, you have today created a law, the Telecommunications Reform Act, which repudiates your own Constitution and insults the dreams of Jefferson, Washington, Mill, Madison, DeToqueville, and Brandeis. These dreams must now be born anew in us.

You are terrified of your own children, since they are natives in a world where you will always be immigrants. Because you fear them, you entrust your bureaucracies with the parental responsibilities you are too cowardly to confront yourselves. In our world, all the sentiments and expressions of humanity, from the debasing to the angelic, are parts of a seamless whole, the global conversation of bits. We cannot separate the air that chokes from the air upon which wings beat.

In China, Germany, France, Russia, Singapore, Italy and the United States, you are trying to ward off the virus of liberty by erecting guard posts at the frontiers of Cyberspace. These may keep out the contagion for a small time, but they will not work in a world that will soon be blanketed in bit-bearing media.

Your increasingly obsolete information industries would perpetuate themselves by proposing laws, in America and elsewhere, that claim to own speech itself throughout the world. These laws would declare ideas to be another industrial product, no more noble than pig iron. In our world, whatever the human mind may create can be reproduced and distributed infinitely at no cost. The global conveyance of thought no longer requires your factories to accomplish.

These increasingly hostile and colonial measures place us in the same position as those previous lovers of freedom and self-determination who had to reject the authorities of distant, uninformed powers. We must declare our virtual selves immune to your sovereignty, even as we continue to consent to your rule over our bodies. We will spread ourselves across the Planet so that no one can arrest our thoughts.

We will create a civilization of the Mind in Cyberspace. May it be more humane and fair than the world your governments have made before.

Davos, Switzerland
February 8, 1996

C’était il y a 20 ans, déjà. Et, déjà, on s’inquiétait des législateurs et des bureaucrates qui commençaient à vouloir réguler, c’est à dire encadrer, contrôler, ce nouvel espace et cette nouvelle frontière.

En le relisant aujourd’hui, je trouve que ce texte reste globalement d’actualité et pose toujours des questions pertinentes.

Que s’est-t-il passé depuis ? Que reste-t-il de la Déclaration d’indépendance du cyberspace ?

Est-ce que les gouvernements nous on laissé en paix ? Est-ce qu’on a vraiment créé ce monde « ouvert à tous, sans privilège ni préjugé qui dépende de la race, du pouvoir économique, de la puissance militaire ou du rang à la naissance […] où chacun, où qu’il soit, peut exprimer ce qu’il croit, quel que soit le degré de singularité de ses croyances, sans devoir craindre d’être forcé de se taire ou de se conformer » ?

  • Julian Assange, et d’autres, ont tentés de réduire l’asymétrie d’information entre les pouvoirs publics et les citoyens.
  • Edward Snowden est devenu le symbole des lanceurs d’alerte, la preuve qu’on peut, en tant que citoyen, voire en tant que patriote , au nom des libertés, s’opposer à son propre gouvernement.
  • Les printemps arabes ont montré l’usage que des citoyens pouvaient faire des nouvelles technologies
  • Telecomix a ouvert la voie d’un mouvement de cybermilitants en faveur de la liberté d’expression.
  • En France, les attentats ont servi d’alibi et de prétexte pour réduire nos libertés mais, heureusement, la Quadrature du Net n’entends pas baisser les bras et défends nos droits et nos libertés. Ils font un travail fantastique et malheureusement indispensable. Abonnez-vous, allez les rencontrer, et soutenez-les !

Sans être Julian Assange ou Edward Snowden, vous avez aussi du pouvoir, ne l’oubliez pas.

Car tout cela concerne surtout la Cathédrale, mais certains se sont aussi préoccupés du Bazar (oui, je sais que La Cathédrale et le Bazar, ça ne parle pas de l’internet marchand mais j’aime quand même bien ce terme de « Bazar » pour évoquer les marchands du Temple).

  • Gardez l’habitude de partager et pas que sur Facebook. Participez à des projets collaboratifs, publiez des blogs, commentez… maintenez la diversité du web
  • Reprenez le contrôle de vos données, dites non aux GAFA (pas forcément systématiquement, hein, mais gardez l’habitude de savoir dire non).
  • Gardez en tête que vous pouvez aussi choisir l’indépendance.
    • Vous pouvez aussi vous dégoogliser facilement et rapidement avec un Cloud personnel, simple et flexible grâce à Cozy Cloud

Tout cela est loin d’être exhaustif… mais j’espère que vous aurez saisi l’idée générale : si vous ne voulez pas que d’autres choisissent à votre place à quoi sert le réseau, comment il doit fonctionner, ou ce qu’il doit permettre ou non, c’est à vous d’en décider. Ré-affirmons l’indépendance du Cyberspace


L’image d’entête est de Éric Constantineau. Elle est en licence CC BY-NC 2.0

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Lomographe, lecteur… et maître de la toile d’araignée… et expert en accessibilité… et des trucs dans les medias, les réseaux, le marketing, le design…

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