Save [just the red, white & blue bits of] The Internet Coalition

I've absolutely no issue with the principle behind the Save The Internet Coalition site, the latest progeny of the GeekPAC initiative.  Makes damn good sense in so many ways, and needs doing. Heck, I'll even sign the petition.

I do, however, have a problem with the U.S.-centricity of the thing.  OK, I'll grant that many of the worst threats to the survival of the 'Net as a commons are in the machinations of the U.S. government.  And, sure, America has a greater share of concerned Internet geeks than anywhere else in the world. 

But WTF?

Isn't it supposed to be a World Wide Web?

There are, no doubt, practical reasons why they've chosen to limit this thing to "...the US portion of the Internet...", but I still find it frustrating to feel as if I'm being sidelined by an accident of geography. 

The page on S.T.I.C. Ideals makes it very clear that I'm not welcome:

Membership in the Save The Internet Coalition is open to any person subscribing to the following principles and when legal:

  1. You must be over the age of 18 and a resident of the United States. Pegistered [sic] Voters Preferred.

This just feels wrong. OK, so their Action Plan is built around the founders' knowledge of the U.S. Congress and Senate.  But it strikes me that imposing this parochial limit on the scope of the proposed solution misses two points:

a. the commons belongs to all of us, not just residents of the U.S., and;
b. as the threats to the Internet are global, so too should any proposed plan of redress.

This is an unfair analogy, but a plan to save the 'Net that is only open to Americans, is just a tiny bit like a plan to "fix" Iraq without the rest of the world's support.

Again - I'm sure the people behind this mean well, and are only limiting their initiative to the U.S. for all sorts of perfectly good reasons, but it just doesn't make sense. 

It's my Internet too.  And yours.

If we're going to save it from the grasping hands of governments (and government-sanctioned organizations) everywhere, we should all have a part in its defense.

Maybe they want a Canadian-resident affiliate?  Now there's an idea. Perhaps I'll volunteer to spearhead the Canadian arm.

Oh, and while I'm at it, maybe I should offer to copy-edit the text.  It's a bit...um...rough.

[UPDATE: So I emailed Jeff Gerhardt, one of the drivers of the S.T.I.C. initiative.  I was sort of right, I guess - there is one very simple reason why this whole thing is U.S.-centric. 

Jeff: "US campaign finance laws would prohibit us from taking money from people who are not citizens or at least legal residents. It is that simple and clear cut."

Well, duh.  Of course.

Doesn't alter the fact that the issues here have impact on all users of the Internet, though - so I'm going to follow Jeff's advice:

"What someone out side the US could do is inform your government of the wrongs and how you would expect your country not to follow this path. Further, please inform everyone from the US you come in contact with that it is imperative that they as US voters act."]