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At the meeting on fosdem, people proposed writing a manifest. Though I (gnrp) have been suspicious about that, I now think it might be a good idea.


If, some day, there is an international organisation, or label, or whatever to gather DIYISPs, this should be the manifest to explain the goals of it. Thus, there is no reason to repeat things an ISP does not directly care for – this is what other NGOs are for and where you should rather support them directly.

Note that this is not directly DIYISP. There are several ISPs which would not adhere to this manifest, and this is intended. There is no need to force a manifest on everyone who wants to say he's doing a DIYISP.

In contrast to the Ethics page, this manifest should be something other ISPs can sign, not something which describes our background and goals. With something signed, it is easier to work together and to have a central list where the ISPs adhering to these values, where you can go and ask for help if you need a project.

Or, different: DIYISP should be a resource (legally and technically) for everyone to find information about how to create your own ISP. Naturally, it does not have any political restrictions upon its editors. This manifest, in turn, should found a formation of ISPs sharing the same goals. They can try to maintain the DIYISP wiki as one of their goals. But from a wiki alone, there will be few to no cooperation.

Open points

  • In the end, it would be nice if native speakers of several languages translated the manifest (as well as English natives would correct it). See Manifest for the German version.
  • How to formulate things? Is it “We want to”? Is it “Hereby, we/I declare”? I would go for “The ISP declares…”
  • The manifest should use a different name than DIYISP. DIYISP is the name of the people behind this wiki, but the manifest should be more restrictive on the one (we want actual ISPs to sign it), but also more open on the other side (everybody who wants should be able to be part of it, not only those who contribute). I like the term FreeISP or OpenISP, but both of them have already been claimed. As far as I see it, FreeISP is so far only officially used by one Open Source project, maybe we could ask them. Or is there somebody else with a better term? Update: Apparently, the term SelfISP is not yet taken.
  • Do we want a real organisation? Or is this something we don't have to care in the beginning? I think it would be good to clarify that in the beginning, since joining an orgnisation is a greater obstacle than just saying “I adhere to bla”, so I don't want to enforce the former one on people who just signed it in the first place.


This manifest is obviously not indended for:

  • ISPs which choose a commercial form of organisation,
  • ISPs which have political restrictions upon their members.

You should also note that the points stated here are the ideal situation. There are certain points where the ISP will not be able to fulfill them because of

  • time constraints: Did you ever really look up all the log files you have, how long they are kept and what is kept?
  • legal unclarities: Being open is nice, but if somebody from another country wants to join your ISP, what is the legal situation? What about payments from foreign countries?
  • legal constraints: As an ISP, you are bound to the law. If you are required to implement censorship, non-neutral networking or anything else, you have to cooperate.
  • practical constraints: Net Neutrality is nice, indeed. But especially as a small ISP, you will have traffic which is faster and cheaper than other traffic. You don't have to pass that on to your users, but it's still a situation where one route has better conditions than another route. Another thing is that there might be strange people who want to join your ISP and do thingsin there, but you better don't want them to do so.

Manifest draft


This manifest is intended for Internet Service Providers (ISPs) which want to adhere to moral standards not declared nor realistically declarable by democratic law.

It shall settle basic rules any user of the ISP signing the manifest can rely on to always have fulfilled if he is a member or customer of this ISP.

No Usage Of Data / Data Security

There are numerous cases where a user of services is “paying” with his data. Where data is explicitly sold or the private data of a user is analysed to be used to to get more money out of him.

A user must be able to rely on its data being secure, not being used against him or for the purpose of increasing somebody else's income or situation.

Thus, the ISP, if not legally forced to do so, will never use any of the data stored by or about its users for any other purpose than

  • helping the user in case he asks for support,
  • debugging,
  • billing purposes,
  • determining statistics about the usage of its own services.

The ISP will not hand out data to third parties when not being legally forced or having to do so to provide its services.

Data retention

In times where there are billions of Internet users, specific information about a user is not as interesting anymore as it has been. What is more important is the user's social interactions, since they can be statistically analysed and provide information the user maybe doesn't even know about himself.

Logs long reaching back are a security risk in case somebody else gets access to them. The ISP will do as best as he can to minimize the data being saved and to not store it longer than necessary.

If there is data retention by law, the ISP will make sure to not store the data longer than required or to store more data than required..

Net Neutrality

The access speeds of consumer connections has grown up to a point where the quality of services can be distinguished by the speed they are delivered with. “Real-time” applications like watching a video or listening to audio streams are heavily depending on a fast delivery, otherwise they are not considered usable. Larger providers tried to exploit this and try to sell their own services with a faster speed and artificially limiting the access to others. Since this can lead to a blurred view of the world, with slow services along with the information they contain not being used anymore, we refuse this concept.

The ISP will not artificially limit the bandwidth of a user he provides access to if this is not part of the contract between the ISP and the user.

The ISP will do as best as he can to provide its users equal and fast access to the whole Internet.


Censorship restrains information, no matter if the censor think it is right to do so. A provider should be a neutral instance, only providing access to the Internet, but not judging its content.

The ISP will not participate in engagements aiming at the restriction of Internet access in any kind. The ISP will not restrict Internet access in any way. If legally forced to implement filtering, it will do not more than required.

Spreading Knowledge

The Internet has become colorful and easy to use, so everyone can participate. On the other hand, the Internet has become a place where everybody is already comfortable. Its users are mostly only consuming contents, without knowing the technical background. But this is dangerous, since people are not able anymore to control the infrastructure they use. If, for whatever reason, the Internet access, or a specific service, would shut down, only few, if any at all, people would be able to repair that.

The ISP has the goal to spread knowledge about the Internet and its usage, to help users becoming more than a consumer. The ISP wants its users to be able to also create services, instead of only using them.

Being Autonomous

Everything claimed by an organisation is only relevant if it is able to actually fulfil these claims. But it is difficult to guarantee if you are depending on something or somebody else.

Thus, the ISP wants to be autonomous. The ISP does as best as he can to run services by itself, ensuring full control over services offered to its users.

Being Open

In order to allow the spread of knowledge, you have to pass it. Thus, the ISP is open to everyone. The ISP invites its members to help maintain the services.

No Advertising

Advertising is everywhere. Advertising is annoying. We don't want to live in a world where every single mail you write, every post you leave somewhere is used to advertise something.

Thus, the ISP advertising-free: There is no advertising ever on the services the ISP provides. The ISP might send out newsletters or choose its own forms of advertising, but the services without advertising.

manifest.txt · Last modified: 2014-03-04 19:38 by gnrp