Don Heath of the Internet Society (

The Internet Society has, at its foundation, a set of principles upon which it bases its existence. From those principles we establish our goals and objectives, the programs and initiatives we foster, and the position we take regarding issues confronting the Internet. These principles are, in general, very biased in favor of individual rights, minimal government intervention, and the self governance of the Internet. To us, this means that Internet users and providers must work together, collectively, to create systems and rules by which they agree to function. It does not mean that governments should be excluded from the process, but it does mean that no one entity should have too much control or authority. If such a situation exists, it opens the door to misuse and abuse.

The Internet Society also recognizes that cultures, values, and systems of governments vary widely throughout the world. What is acceptable in one state may be completely unacceptable in another. Until the day comes when all people will agree on what is right and what is wrong (an event for which I would be unwilling to fathom a guess), we must accept that the application of rules governing the Internet will vary as widely as the values and cultures. We do believe that the collective mind of individuals is very powerful and instinctively works toward the best solution. It, therefore, seems important to allow mechanisms for people to express tangibly their views in order to have, or changes laws that appropriately reflect their will.

The specific principles upon which the Internet Society bases its positions and opinions are:

1) Open, unencumbered, beneficial use of the Internet.
2) Self-regulated content providers; no prior censorship of on-line communications.
3) On-line free expression is not restricted by other indirect means such as excessively restrictive governmental or private controls over computer hardware or software, telecommunications infrastructure, or other essential components of the Internet.
4) Open forum for the development of standards and Internet technology.
5) No discrimination in use of the Internet on the basis of race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.
6) Personal information generated on the Internet is neither misused nor used by another without informed consent of the principal.
7) Internet users may encrypt their communication and information without restriction.
8) Encouragement of cooperation among networks: Connectivity is its own reward, therefore network providers are rewarded by cooperation with each other.

Over the history of the evolving Internet, we have learned, throughout the world, that adherance to these principles has allowed the Internet to flourish, to prevent its fragmentation, and to provide an environment that is overwhelmingly positive and good.

ISOC Bulgaria can, and should, take a strong local position, pushing the principles as hard as is reasonable. Best of luck to you,