Supporting Global Internet Freedom, Helps Support Freedom Globally

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recently delivered a major policy speech on internet freedom.  She affirmed America’s commitment to promoting freedom of expression through the internet, cell phones, and other new media.   Echoing President Obama’s support for peoples’ right to freely access information, Secretary Clinton spoke of how information networks help citizens obtain new facts, hold their governments accountable, generate new ideas, and encourage creativity.  

The fact that I can engage with readers of this blog in a dialogue illustrates the points raised by Secretary Clinton in her speech and underscores the United States’ belief that the free flow of information and ideas is in our own national interest and in the interest of global society.

If you have not seen it, I encourage you to take a look at Secretary Clinton’s speech.  The full text is available here, or you can watch the video of the speech on our U.S. State Department blog, Dipnote

Here are some excerpts from the speech:

  • On their own, new technologies do not take sides in the struggle for freedom and progress. But the United States does. We stand for a single internet where all of humanity has equal access to knowledge and ideas. And we recognize that the world’s information infrastructure will become what we and others make of it.
  • Amid this unprecedented surge in connectivity, we must also recognize that these technologies are not an unmitigated blessing.  These tools are also being exploited to undermine human progress and political rights… Technologies with the potential to open up access to government and promote transparency can also be hijacked by governments to crush dissent and deny human rights.
  • Freedom of expression comes under threat where governments control the democratic tools of television, radio, access to newsprint, and internet.   Currently, there is not an internet technology strong enough or adaptable enough to provide openness in any place where a government is trying to shut it down.   
  • Today, we find an urgent need to protect these freedoms on the digital frontiers of the 21st century. 
  • The United States is committed to devoting the diplomatic, economic, and technological resources necessary to advance these freedoms… We are well placed to seize the opportunities that come with interconnectivity. And as the birthplace for so many of these technologies, we have a responsibility to see them used for good. To do that, we need to develop our capacity for 21st century statecraft.
  • We feel strongly that principles like information freedom aren’t just good policy, not just somehow connected to our national values, but they are universal and they’re also good for business.
  • By advancing this agenda, we align our principles, our economic goals, and our strategic priorities. We need to work toward a world in which access to networks and information brings people closer together and expands the definition of the global community.

In the spirit of promoting enhanced global connectivity and the free exchange of ideas online, I invite you to express yourself by posting a response.  Please feel free to share your impressions of Secretary Clinton’s speech or your views on internet freedom, in general.  

I look forward to your comments!


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