Cyberspace, that digital projection of the collective consciousness that so many want to protect from the absurdities of the physical world, from tyrannies and political, religious, racial or any kind of interference. The desire of a person and a community that supports their idea, gave rise to a document that marked a milestone in its history, this document is the Declaration of Independence of Cyberspace.

Unot of the most important documents issued by the cypherpunks and its seasoned community is the Cyberspace Declaration of Independence. The brief was filed in Switzerland on 8 of February 1996 by John perry barlow, one of the founding members of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF).

This text was presented in response to the United States Telecommunications Law. This law was presented that same year for the purposes of "to update”The old communications law dating from 1934. However, the new telecommunications law encouraged privatization and I was looking regulate the birth of new spaces and channels of communication. These actions attempted against the net neutrality and its evolution.

In response to these threats not only from the United States but also from a growing group of nations seeking to control cyberspace, Barlow created this document. In the same, Barlow exalts the free and open nature of the Internet and its community. Also, Barlow made one thing very clear, cyberspace has its own sovereignty and no government has control over it.

john perry barlow author of declaration of independence from cyberspace

Facts that led to the declaration

The birth of The Internet became the greatest technological and communicational revolution of humanity. Even before his birth, thinkers and futurologists saw how the Internet would transform human society. They were not mistaken in such statements and predictions. Nevertheless, power structures, like the governments of world powers, fear anything they cannot control, and an uncontrolled global means of communication, is the worst fear of any government. In this situation, even before the Internet existed, the powerful were preparing the ground to control what would be cyberspace.

The United States, at the forefront of technology, had the most advanced path in this regard. Technological evolution led him to transform the NSA into his control arm in and out of law for cyberspace. Also, in the midst of the Cold War, different laws and executive orders seeking to control encryption and communications technology They were the first attempts to control cyberspace.

American allies followed suit with equal and even more restrictive measures. For their part, nations such as China or the Soviet Union of that time, created measures of the same type. Controlling everything regarding information technology and cyberspace was the goal. All this regardless of whether it violated the fundamental principles and rights of its citizens.

At the end of this, With the appearance of the Internet and the widespread use of it, the measures that were taken were insufficient. Controlling entire networks and millions of users worldwide was not an easy task. With the added factor of the emergence of groups of people and activists all over the planet, concerned with maintaining freedom and neutrality online.

How much do you know, cryptonuta?

Is the Declaration of Independence of Cyberspace an important document for online freedoms?


The document, although early and poorly understood at the time, is vital to understand that cyberspace must remain neutral. Turning it into a controlled space where nations do as they please, will drive the desire for total control, the birth of tyrannies and the reduction of freedoms and rights.

Impact of the Declaration

The document created by Barlow made it clear that Cyberspace is a neutral place and due to its intangible and collective nature, it should not be subject to the control of any government. Barlow expressed in this way, the need to move cyberspace away from the governmental control systems of all nations. But at the same time, he proposed to move cyberspace away from the geopolitical and economic problems of the physical world.

Shortly after the statement was issued, it spread across the network. Because of this, Barlow became a celebrity, something that influenced the rapid recognition of his work and the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Thanks to this, the community in favor of neutrality increased its social mass, thus strengthening its image. A few years later, after the attacks of the X In the United States, the quest to control the network would change radically.

Faced with the increasingly open and clear facts of the lobbies to control and limit cyberspace, and with it the rights of citizens, the declaration stands as a strong voice against these attacks. But it is also an invitation for the community to commit to supervising and regulating itself in order to build something positive for everyone.

In this way, together with the Cryptanarchist Manifesto, the Declaration of Independence of Cyberspace became one of the reference documents for ideologies committed to net neutrality and privacy within it.

Cyberspace Declaration of Independence

GGovernments of the Industrial World, you weary giants of flesh and steel, I come from Cyberspace, the new home of Mind. In the name of the future, I ask you in the past to leave us alone. You are not welcome among us. Nor do you exercise any sovereignty over the place where we meet. We have not elected any government, nor do we pretend to have one, so I address you with no authority other than that with which freedom always speaks.

I declare the global social space we are building independent by nature from the tyrannies you are seeking to impose on us. You have no moral right to govern us, nor do you have methods of enforcing your law that we must truly fear.

Governments derive their just powers from the consent of those who are governed. You have not asked neither received ours. We have not invited you either.

You do not know us, nor do you know our world. Cyberspace is not within your borders. Do not think that you can build it, as if it were a public construction project. You cannot. It is a natural act that grows from our collective actions.

You have not joined our great collective conversation, nor have you created the wealth of our markets. You do not know our culture, our ethics, or the unwritten codes that already provide our society with more order than what could be obtained by any of your impositions.

You proclaim that there are problems between us that you need to solve. You use this as an excuse to invade our limits. Many of these problems do not exist. Where there are real conflicts, where there are errors, we will identify and resolve them by our own means. We are creating our own Social Contract. This authority will be created according to the conditions of our world, not yours. Our world is different. Cyberspace is made up of transactions, relationships, and thought in itself, which spreads like a quiet wave in the web of our communications. Our world is at once everywhere and nowhere, but it is not where bodies live.

We are creating a world that everyone can enter, without privileges or prejudices due to race, economic power, military strength, or the place of birth. We are creating a world where anyone, anywhere, can express their beliefs, no matter how unique they are, 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 based on matter.

There is no matter here. Our identities have no body, so unlike you we cannot obtain order by physical coercion.

We believe that our authority will emanate from morality, progressive self-interest, and the common good. Our identities can be distributed across many jurisdictions. The only law that all our cultures would recognize is the Golden Rule. We look forward to building our particular solutions on that foundation. But we cannot accept the solutions that you are trying to impose. In America today you have created a law, the Telecommunications Reform Act, that repudiates your own Constitution and insults the dreams of Jefferson, Washington, Mill, Madison, DeToqueville and Brandeis. These dreams must now be reborn in us.

You are afraid of your own children, since they are natives in a world where you will always be immigrants. As you fear, you entrust your bureaucracy with parental responsibilities that you cannot cowardly face. In our world, all the feelings and expressions of humanity, from the vilest to the most angelic, are part of a single whole, the global conversation of bits. We cannot separate the air that suffocates from that on which the wings beat.

In China, Germany, France, Russia, Singapore, Italy and the United States, you are trying to ward off the virus of freedom by setting up guard posts on the borders of Cyberspace. They may prevent contagion for a short time, but they will not work in a world that will soon be covered by bit-borne media.

Your increasingly obsolete information industries would perpetuate themselves by proposing laws, in America and elsewhere, that claim their ownership of the word worldwide. These laws would declare that ideas are another industrial product, less noble than rusty iron. In our world, whatever the human mind can create can be reproduced and distributed infinitely at no cost. The global transfer of thought no longer needs to be carried out by your factories. These increasingly hostile and colonialist measures put us in the same situation that those lovers of freedom and self-determination were in who had to fight against the authority of a distant and ignorant power.

We must declare our virtual "selves" immune to your sovereignty, even though we continue to consent to your power over our bodies. We will spread out across the planet so that no one can imprison our thoughts.

We will create a civilization of the Mind in Cyberspace. May it be more human and beautiful than the world that your governments have created before.

Davos, Switzerland to February 8, 1996

John perry barlow