SOS Internet

Supporting an Open & Stable Internet

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On January 11th 2012 the court in Amsterdam issued a judgement that has major consequences for the internet as we know it in The Netherlands. As of February 1st 2012 internet providers XS4all and Ziggo should make it impossible for their users to reach a certain web community ("The Pirate Bay"). A blockade like - while simple on paper - that has many implications. From now on every internet packet that is sent through those providers has to be screened whether or not it comes from or goes to a blacklisted destination - with all the complexity and instability that invokes. That severly disadvantages all users of the internet in the Netherlands - and not just the visitors of those sites. That can't be right.

We are convinced that with the right information the higher court will deny this case, but it will take years. The case itself is not isolated: the organisation BREIN, representing a number of content providers, has meanwhile written letters to other Dutch internet providers based on the current verdict, and easily has the financial means to go to court in each and every of those cases. That means a flood of legal cases against also smaller (and less financially endowed) internet providers - with the risk of this failing big time somewhere. It nothing happens, the quality and usability of the internet will go down.

We should not allow that to happen. These are lawsuits that are aimed at internet providers, but they are by far not the only stakeholders in them. Everybody in the Netherlands will have to endure the outcomes of these important legal procedures, with potentially a lot of damage to society - and to our economy. That is why the initiative was taken to set up a special support fund to help represent the interests of internet users in these legal proceedings. By setting up this fund ( with the apt title Support [fund] Open & Stable Internet, or in Dutch 'Steunfonds Open en Stabiel Internet') we want to make it possible to have adequate means to let the voice of ten million Netherlands internet users (and that not even includes future generations). We want money to be available for (scientific and technical) research and other activities that could be of importance in these cases. The money shall not go to the legal defence of XS4all and Ziggo, but to independent initiatives from society serving these legal procedures. That is the only way that we can prevent a very undesirable legal precedent to be established. SOS Internet is managed professionally at no cost by NLnet foundation, the charity that thirty years ago initiated the internet as we know it in the Netherlands. Applications will be evaluated by a committee led by Marleen Stikker (Waag Society), Simon Hania (former CTO XS4all) and Hendrik Rood (Advisor Internet architecture and technology). Of course without remuneration.

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With a small donation and helping us spread the message you will already be helping us tremendously. Together we strive for an open and stabile internet. And we do need your help.

Your donation will be handled by NLnet Foundation, a well-known registered internet charity that operates globally. NLnet has an ANBI status (Algemeen Nut Beogende Instelling) with the Netherlands Tax authorities, which means that donations may be tax deductiblen. We will gladly send you a proof of payment: email or by phone (+31(0)20 888 4252).

Questions? Please contact us or call +31627050947 if you have any questions or ideas.


FAQ

Who makes money from this?

The people organising this, are all unpaid volunteers. They are excluded from payment in any form - directly and indirectly. The website and all communication means are provided for free. We use the payment infrastructure of NLnet foundation, they ask nothing in return. The money will be spent frugally on research and other activities that will be helpful in this matter.

Is my money in safe hands?

NLnet Foundation is a recognised charity going back to the first non-commercial internet activities in the Netherlands in 1982. It funds independent (mostly technical) contributions to the internet at a global level. The foundation works from donations and a trust fund established at the sale of the first Netherlands internet provider NLnet. The foundation is supervised by a Supervisory Board chaired by prof. dr. Erik Huizer. The foundation has three employes and the board is led by dr. Marc van Driel.

I'm not even on the internet. Is this important for me too?

Yes, we think it is. The Pirate Bay is - just like the rest of the web - a publically accessible meeting place where there is no supervision on what information is shared and accessed. The Pirate Bay is an online community as there are countless on the planet - and this blockade sends the Netherlands into shady territory. In this specific case there is something additional - a number of countries have political movements that were established from this community, and these were democratically elected at various political levels - including the European Parliament. The site therefore has cultural and societal relevance. Also in the area of civil rights the Pirate Bay - through its international audience and diversity - plays a role as an attractive and relatively difficult to detect distribution mechanism for dissidents. The question is therefore jusitified whether a blockade is a proportionate measure.