The oldest stone tools currently described are over 3 million years old. That is not just older than our species Homo sapiens, it is older than the entire genus Homo. For as long as human beings have existed we have needed technologies to aid us. We could afford to lose most of out hair because it could be replaced with fibers and skins, we could afford to lose our fangs only by replacing them with blades of flint or obsidian or copper or iron or steel. We fueled our inventiveness with the progressive evolution of a powerful brain. It is a brain that is such an energy drain that only foods that have been cooked by fire, another technology, can fully fuel it in its most modern and advanced form.
Without our everyday technologies we are nothing. Without our clothes we freeze, without our farms or spears or guns we starve. Without our fire (figurative or literal in the sense of cooked-food-as-brain-food) how could we hope to fuel the creative capacity to create new solutions?
Perhaps even more important than the fact that the human is a technological creature, the human is a social creature. We speak, we tell stories, we hunt or gather or farm together. We track lineages and maintain friendships. When alone in the world we invent imaginary friends, and even in the presence of other humans we speak to pets, to inanimate objects, and to the universe at large as if any of them have the ability to respond in kind – to validate us and cement a social bond. Human technologies from language grammars to written characters, and to telegraph machines have spurred social connectedness while human socialization on ever larger scales has provided not only the need for technologies, but the capacity to create them through larger and more improbable intellectual collaborations and chains of influence.
I mention these facts to emphasize simple, central truth. If the human is a technological creature, then human rights must include rights in the technological realm. If the human is a social creature, then human rights must protect avenues of social connectedness. Where the technological and the social realms converge, as in the new, thoroughly digital world we share, human rights must be understood in a digital sense and fought for in a digital realm.
We, the Citizens of a Digital Republic, are here to take up that fight. Our mission is to educate concerned citizens about which of their rights extend into the digital realm and what steps they can take to protect themselves from harm or loss of privacy as a result of harassment, intimidation, hacking, or seizure of devices which store or transfer digital information. If you would like to attend a workshop on practical, everyday cybersecurity that can help you as a citizen better understand the rights, risks and responsibilities associated with the management of your digital “footprint” please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
The concerned citizens at CDR
We at CDR are proud members of the Electronic Frontier Alliance and enthusiastically endorse its principles:
Free Expression – The right to speak frankly and openly to those who would like to hear you
Security – The belief that novel technologies should be beneficial and accountable to their users
Privacy – The right to remain anonymous and only share what you would like to share with those with whom you would like to share it
Creativity – The belief that technology can be, is, and must remain a tool for accessing, manipulating and reimagining the ideas and inventions of others
Access to Knowledge – The belief that knowledge should be widely shared and meticulously curated, and that the desire for knowledge should be rewarded (except where it conflicts with another’s right to privacy)