Friday, January 22, 2010

Secretary Clinton's Speaks on Internet Freedom

Yesterday morning at 9:30 a.m. EST, Secretary Clinton delivered a speech on internet freedom and diplomacy, at the Newseum in Washington DC.

She began her speech talking a little bit about Haiti and she brought up the new text HAITI campaign that was recently launched. I'm sure many of you have received texts for this campaign, if you want to donate all you have to do is text "HAITI" to "90999" and $10 will be sent the Red Cross and charged to your cell phone bill. This is what Hillary said so far about the campaign:

In the hours after the quake, we worked with partners in the private sector; first, to set up the text “HAITI” campaign so that mobile phone users in the United States could donate to relief efforts via text messages. That initiative has been a showcase for the generosity of the American people, and thus far, it’s raised over $25 million for recovery efforts.
What I also thought was an import point she hit on Haiti is the critical role information networks have also played on the ground there. She used an example of how on Monday, a seven-year-old girl and two women were pulled from the rubble of a collapsed supermarket by an American search-and-rescue team after they sent a text message calling for help.

She went on to speak about the power of the internet and how both she and President Obama believe in the freedom of the internet:

There are many other networks in the world. Some aid in the movement of people or resources, and some facilitate exchanges between individuals with the same work or interests. But the internet is a network that magnifies the power and potential of all others. And that’s why we believe it’s critical that its users are assured certain basic freedoms. Freedom of expression is first among them. This freedom is no longer defined solely by whether citizens can go into the town square and criticize their government without fear of retribution. Blogs, emails, social networks, and text messages have opened up new forums for exchanging ideas, and created new targets for censorship.

As I speak to you today, government censors somewhere are working furiously to erase my words from the records of history. But history itself has already condemned these tactics.

I thought it was important and very necessary to talk about the dangers and problems with a free flowing stream of information online. She brought up the abuse of this freedom by al-Qaida saying, "We do not tolerate those who incite others to violence, such as the agents of al-Qaida who are, at this moment, using the internet to promote the mass murder of innocent people across the world. And hate speech that targets individuals on the basis of their race, religion, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation is reprehensible."

She went on to make a very important point saying that "these challenges must NOT become an excuse for governments to systematically violate the rights and privacy of those who use the internet for peaceful political purposes... Those who disrupt the free flow of information in our society or any other pose a threat to our economy, our government, and our civil society. Countries or individuals that engage in cyber attacks should face consequences and international condemnation. In an internet-connected world, an attack on one nation’s networks can be an attack on all. And by reinforcing that message, we can create norms of behavior among states and encourage respect for the global networked commons."

She then outlined how the United States is preparing to apply these principles that she outlined in her speech. She announced that the State Department is already working in more than 40 countries to help individuals silenced by oppressive governments. She went on to say that they are making this issue a priority at the United Nations as well by including internet freedom as a component in the first resolution we introduced after returning to the United Nations Human Rights Council.

The Secretary also announced the supporting the development of new tools that enable citizens to exercise their rights of free expression by circumventing politically motivated censorship and actively providing funds to groups around the world to make sure that those tools get to the people who need them in local languages, and with the training they need to access the internet safely.

She then took questions from the audience which I would recommend reading in the full text. You can read the full text of her remarks here or watch below:

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

hI GUYS:
IF YOU CAN PLEASE GO TO GRETA WIRE BLOG AND VOTE ON THE POLL: WHO WOULD YOU LIKE TO HAVE COFFE WITH?"PALIN IS WINNING, LET'S GO FOR HILLARY!

Anonymous said...

hI
IT WAS ME, VEYRY, FROM THE PREVIOUS POST.

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