Declaration of Independence of Cyberspace

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Does the Internet provide space for participatory, emancipatory and unrestricted interaction? Does it support a net-culture which is equally enjoyed and accessed from all over the world? Ignite a debate on the vision of the Internet as an emancipatory, participatory instrument related to participants' everyday experience.


  • To reflect on the different assumptions about the Internet
  • To understand how the Internet affects democratic principles and values
  • To envision the Internet of the future


1. Read the declaration that John Perry Barlow formulated in 1991, the Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace:

From the Declaration of Independence of Cyberspace

“...Cyberspace consists of transactions, relationships, and thought itself, arrayed like a standing wave in the web of our communications. Ours is a world that is both everywhere and nowhere, but it is not where bodies live. We are creating a world that all may enter without privilege or prejudice accorded by race, economic power, military force, or station of birth. We are creating a world where anyone, anywhere may express his or her beliefs, no matter how singular, without fear of being coerced into silence or conformity. Your legal concepts of property, expression, identity, movement, and context do not apply to us. They are all based on matter, and there is no matter here....”

2. Split the participants into subgroups of 4 to 7 people and ask them to identify key aspects

3. Discuss the following questions:

  • What areas of life are touched by the declaration of independence?
  • To what extent has the declaration become real?
  • Where is it realised and where do you see challenges?
  • What are possible tactics to ensure the independent and free cyberspace today?
  • In a digitalised world, where does communication happen and what actors are involved?
  • Is cyberspace something separated from “real life”?

4. Report and exchange on the group discussion and relevant topics in the plenary.

Georg Pirker

Person responsible for international relations at the Association of German Educational Organizations (AdB), president of DARE network.


Additional task, which might be given to the participants: “Make a short modern Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace. Does it differ from Barlow’s one from 1991? How and why?"

Time 45 minutes

Material Standard

Group Size 8+ people

Keywords freedom, participation, access, inequality, exclusion, discrimination




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