Recommendations produced by the internet subgroup at the International Summit on
Democracy, Terrorism and Security
I. The Internet is a foundation of democratic society in the 21st century,
because the core values of the Internet and democracy are so closely aligned.
1. The Internet is fundamentally about openness, participation, and freedom of
expression for all — increasing the diversity and reach of information and
2. The Internet allows people to communicate and collaborate across borders and
3. The Internet unites families and cultures in diaspora; it connects people,
helping them to form civil societies.
4. The Internet can foster economic development by connecting people to
information and markets.
5. The Internet introduces new ideas and views to those who may be isolated and
prone to political violence.
6. The Internet is neither above nor below the law. The same legal principles
that apply in the physical world also apply to human activities conducted over
II. Decentralized systems — the power of many — can combat decentralized
1. Terrorist networks are highly decentralized and distributed. A centralized
effort by itself cannot effectively fight terrorism.
2. Terrorism is everyone’s issue. The internet connects everyone. A connected
citizenry is the best defense against terrorist propaganda.
3. As we saw in the aftermath of the March 11 bombing, response was spontaneous
and rapid because the citizens were able to use the Internet to organize
4. As we are seeing in the distributed world of weblogs and other kinds of
citizen media, truth emerges best in open conversation among people with
III. The best response to abuses of openness is more openness.
1. Open, transparent environments are more secure and more stable than closed,
2. While Internet services can be interrupted, the Internet as a global system
is ultimately resilient to attacks, even sophisticated and widely distributed
3. The connectedness of the Internet – people talking with people – counters
the divisiveness terrorists are trying to create.
4. The openness of the Internet may be exploited by terrorists, but as with
democratic governments, openness minimizes the likelihood of terrorist acts and
enables effective responses to terrorism.
IV. Well-meaning regulation of the Internet in established democracies could
threaten the development of emerging democracies.
1. Terrorism cannot destroy the internet, but over-zealous legislation in
response to terrorism could. Governments should consider mandating changes to
core Internet functionality only with extraordinary caution.
2. Some government initiatives that look reasonable in fact violate the basic
principles that have made the Internet a success.
3. For example, several interests have called for an end to anonymity. This
would be highly unlikely to stop determined terrorists, but it would have a
chilling effect on political activity and thereby reduce freedom and
transparency. Limiting anonymity would have a cascading series of unintended
results that would hurt freedom of expression, especially in countries seeking
transition to democratic rule.
V. In conclusion we urge those gathered here in Madrid to:
1. Embrace the open Internet as a foundation of 21st Century democracy, and a
critical tool in the fight against terrorism.
2. Recognizing the Internet’s value as a critical communications
infrastructure, invest to strengthen it against attacks and recover quickly from
3. Work to spread access more evenly, aggressively addressing the Digital
Divide, and to provide Internet access for all.
4. To protect free speech and association, endorse the availability of anonymous
communications for all.
5. Resist attempts at international governance of the Internet: It can introduce
processes that have unintended effects and violate the bottom-up democratic
nature of the Net.