Announcement: CCDBR Stands For Digital Rights, Freedom, Security, and Privacy

Posted on September 24, 2017

For almost 60 years, the Chicago Committee to Defend the Bill of Rights has weathered political shifts to preserve our fundamental civil liberties. Dramatic changes in technology have not diminished our commitment. 

Since the digital sphere is a natural extension of the traditional civic sphere,  CCDBR declares its commitment to upholding the pillars of digital rights: freedom of expression and knowledge, privacy, security, and creativity. 

To guarantee the freedom to know, act, and express which Americans enjoy offline, we must preserve them online. The internet can only meet the ideals set down in the constitution, principally in the First Amendment, if it remains a platform in which all sites and services, voices and knowledge, are available with full and equal access to all users, in accordance with net neutrality and in rejection of censorship. 

Digital freedom is only meaningful when users enjoy the privacy to exercise it safely. Just as citizens in their homes or persons  enjoy the right to be secure against government search and seizure without a valid court order, users are entitled to the right to be free from arbitrary government interception of online communications. This requires not only that users be ensured an integrity in the online connections, but also the ability to browse and participate online anonymously if they choose. 

The best, and only, assurance of digital privacy is digital security. The same forces which shield the privacy of users, strong encryption and conscientious data processing practices, are the forces which grant robust security to them. Security is only extended in actual fact when encryption is at its most comprehensive, locking out all third-parties, and when data retention is at its least, eliminating all superfluous user data in a timely manner. A small compromise for government interception is a severe compromise for user data, to surveillance and malicious hackers. 

Creativity is the ultimate freedom, and the internet is not free without it. The internet truly embodies the potential for an unprecedented democractization of society, but restrictive and overreaching claims to content by the few at the expense of the many poses a grave threat to this potential. Only when users have the chance to express the full range of their creative spirit can the internet realize its vast possibilities.

These are certainly lofty ideals to aspire to, but rights only flourish when their reach it total–an abridgment of our rights anywhere is a danger to our rights everywhere. CCDBR will strive to bring digital liberties into the fold of traditional civil liberties.