Words Obama and Cameron will never say

Having listened carefully to representations that have been made to us by a wide range of free speech, civil liberties and commercial interests, as well as several national governments and international organizations, we are happy to announce today that we have instructed all of our security services and law enforcement bodies never again to collect data indiscriminately from the internet about people’s online activities or about people’s telephone calls. This will apply in respect of our own and other nations’ citizens.

In future the agencies’ instructions will be only to collect data of the kind referred to where officers can demonstrate probable cause indicating that specific individuals are likely to be or have been engaged in criminal activities which are contrary to the interests of our respective countries.

We have communicated our view to all other national governments in the world and to relevant international bodies confident that, if they have not done so already, they will each give binding commitments of a similar nature. 

We renounce the idea that we would ever do anything to defend or extend our national interests in any way which might conflict with these solemn undertakings. On that basis we are perfectly happy to re-state our commitment to complete transparency within an internet governance framework which fully embraces the notion of multistakeholderism.

We look forward to sitting down with representatives of Google, Microsoft, Orange, the South Devon Progressive Environmentalists, the Papua New Guinea Horticulturalists, the Tierra del Fuego Sheep Farming Association and like minded civil society organizations certain that, between us and on an entirely equal basis, we can map out a way ahead for the internet.

About John Carr

John Carr is one of the world's leading authorities on children's and young people's use of digital technologies. He is Senior Technical Adviser to Bangkok-based global NGO ECPAT International and is Secretary of the UK's Children's Charities' Coalition on Internet Safety. John is now or has formerly been an Adviser to the Council of Europe, the UN (ITU), the EU and UNICEF. John has advised many of the world's largest technology companies on online child safety. John's skill as a writer has also been widely recognised. http://johncarrcv.blogspot.com
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