On April 28, the Biden administration announced a new global partnership that sets norms for the use of technology by nation-states: the Declaration for the Future of the Internet. While the declaration might seem like a reproach of the digital authoritarianism of Russia and China, it is far more likely to warn off wavering democracies from internet transgressions.
The statement was signed by 61 nations and aims to establish a code of practice for how democratic countries should engage with the web. The declaration’s vision for the internet is broad—aspiring to promote universal internet access, protect human rights, ensure fair economic competition, design secure digital infrastructure, promote pluralism and freedom of expression, and guarantee a multi-stakeholder approach to internet governance. While this is an ambitious scope for a three-page nonbinding document, the priorities are admirable and reflect the diverse interests of the signatories. This is especially notable when compared to an early draft leaked in 2021, which was far more focused on U.S. economic interests.