Internet Freedom

Posted by DipNote Bloggers
January 21, 2010

In an address at the Newseum, Secretary Clinton spoke on the importance of freedom of expression and the free flow of information on the Internet. The Secretary said:

"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. Now, this challenge may be new, but our responsibility to help ensure the free exchange of ideas goes back to the birth of our republic."

Secretary Clinton outlined five key freedoms of the Internet Age. First among them is the freedom of expression. Secretary Clinton said, “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, email, 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 are working furiously to erase my words from the records of history. But history itself has already condemned these tactics."

The freedom of expression may be the most obvious freedom to face challenges with the spread of new technologies, but it is not alone. Secretary Clinton also spoke about the freedom of worship. She said, “Prayers will always travel on higher networks. But connection technologies like the internet and social networking sites should enhance individuals’ ability to worship as they see fit, come together with people of their own faith, and learn more about the beliefs of others. We must work to advance the freedom of worship online just as we do in other areas of life.”

Secretary Clinton continued, “We know from long experience that promoting social and economic development in countries where people lack access to knowledge, markets, capital, and opportunity can be frustrating, and sometimes futile work. In this context, the Internet can serve as a great equalizer. By providing people with access to knowledge and potential markets, networks can create opportunity where none exists.”

There are hundreds of millions of people living without the benefits of these technologies. In many cases, the Internet, mobile phones and other connection technologies can do for economic growth what the green revolution did for agriculture. Information networks should be used to help lift people out of poverty, to advance freedom from want.

Some, though, will use global information networks for darker purposes. Violent extremists, criminal cartels, sexual predators and authoritarian governments all seek to exploit global networks. Secretary Clinton underscored that we must ensure the freedom from fear for those who use the Internet for peaceful purposes. The Secretary said, “Countries or individuals that engage in cyber attacks should face consequences and international condemnation. In an interconnected world, an attack on one nation’s networks can be an attack on all. By reinforcing that message, we can create norms of behavior among states and encourage respect for the global networked commons.”

The Secretary then said, "The final freedom I want to address today flows from the four I've already mentioned: the freedom to connect -- the idea that governments should not prevent people from connecting to the Internet, to websites, or to each other. The freedom to connect is like the freedom of assembly in cyber space. It allows individuals to get online, come together, and hopefully cooperate in the name of progress. Once you’re on the Internet, you don’t need to be a tycoon or a rock star to have a huge impact on society.”

The Secretary announced that the State Department and USAID will work with a wide range of partners outside of government to build upon these principles going forward and that by harnessing the power of connection technologies we will practice 21st century statecraft that empowers citizens, and leverages our traditional diplomacy.

The Secretary said, "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.”

The State Department will launch programs to promote Internet freedom, expand access to the Internet by women and other groups; implement programs which trains and supports civil society groups and NGOs in the use of new media technologies that enhance communication and coordination efforts; and support a series of pilot projects starting this spring that will use new media to connect people -- particularly young people -- to expand civic participation and increase the new media capabilities of civil society in the Middle East and North Africa.

Secretary Clinton concluded, “We need to create a world in which access to networks and information brings people closer together, and expands our definition of community. Given the magnitude of the challenges we’re facing, we need people around the world to pool their knowledge and creativity to help rebuild the global economy, protect our environment, defeat violent extremism, and build a future in which every human being can realize their God-given potential.” Full Text

Comments

Comments

John P.
|
Greece
January 21, 2010

John P. in Greece writes:

Dear Madame Secretary of State,

Personally you and your staff, are leading a great tech revolution that will make our world better! It’s exactly what the podium says: NEWSEUM.

What I understood from your inspired words is: Forget the “Museums” and start working on the NEWSEUMS. It’s the only way to make our planet better.

According to my opinion, you all do a great job, concerning new media and technologies.

I am very proud visiting and participating in this social forum.

Thank you very much Madame Secretary.

Zhang W.
|
China
January 21, 2010

Zhang W. in China writes:

I am a young man from Shanghai . I want to know , whether or not the state can take measures to give people who using their personal computers better opportunities to search information and to send information in a more safe and sound way , environmental friendly , economic , efficient , effective .

Thanks for the people who do their great work to help others .

Zhang C.
|
China
January 21, 2010

Zhang and Fredrik in China write:

Franklin Roosevelt built on these ideas when he delivered his Four Freedoms speech in 1941, freedom of expression, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear transcended the troubles of his day.

Today, we find an urgent need to protect these freedoms on the digital frontiers of the 21st century.

Any details to explain in a simple and easy way ?

BZ B.
|
Hawaii, USA
January 22, 2010

B.Z.B. in Hawaii writes:

We believe in complete transformation of humanity. We believe in women giving birth when they choose. We believe in naked women as the ultimate artform, created by the God and Goddess for the glory of the Earth. Therefore, we believe in Mary, yes, we believe in Madonna, of course, and we believe in Paris, her pussycat, and the Venus of life-giving breasts. We believe in our Mother Ocean, the living, magical energy of mountains, the primal fires of volcanoes, and also Bjork. We believe in Lady Gaga, Hillary Clinton and Rocketboom. We believe in erotica, Rennaissance beauty, nipples that are natural, and fuzzy skin in the sun. Our Goddess is always there to kiss our wounded spirits, to declare another beautiful day on planet Earth.

Mike L.
|
Massachusetts, USA
January 21, 2010

Mike L. in Massachusetts writes:

It's good that the government is acknowledging the importance of a free internet in today's society, but Madame Secretary is off on one huge point, which defeats the effectiveness of her speech: Whatever good may come of the internet, whatever extremism we defeat, whatever internet technology leads to a healthier environment, whatever maximum potential the internet helps every human reach in the future, that achievement and potential is not given to them by any King, or Government, or Deity: People earn their potential just for being people, just for existing, just for seeking to learn about the world around them.

The internet is a massive force for good in this world. The internet is without a doubt the single greatest achievement of humanity. The internet is the most powerful tool available to an individual with a cause. If you have to chalk all those years of engineering, all the massive technological leaps, all the free speech already available on the internet up to a God and not the countless hours of dedication by some of the most intelligent people in all of history, perhaps you shouldn't be using an internet that you, Madame Secretary, don't understand.

On and off the internet, there are no Gods or Kings -- only Men.

Don K.
|
District Of Columbia, USA
January 22, 2010

Don K. in Washington, DC writes:

Excellent speech. Very pleased the Secretary took a stance on this in such a forthright manner.

JJ C.
|
China
January 22, 2010

JJ Chu in China writes:

Freedom is relative, there is also a network in the United States limited. The purpose of this address is not simple in freedom.

Donald M.
|
Virginia, USA
January 22, 2010

Donald M. in Virginia writes:

Communications is a double edged sword. Receive and transmit signals. A receiver has five parts, receive, select, detect, reproduce and amplify
the signals, two important parts "Selectivity and Sensitivity" Selecting means to select the frequency your listening too, where as Sensitivity covers the lowest amount of signal that goes into a receiver and it detects and then reproduces the signal to allow be heard. Listening is one of best tools for all people on earth. God gave people two ears to listen and one mouth to speak. Which means Wisdom comes from hearing the intelligence and gaining understanding of the speaker. Knowledge is learned. It can be the greatest tool to people or the last signal of hope. The cavemen most likely used fire to generate smoke signals along with our Native Americans. A flashing light, a mirror which reflects an image or can be used to create fire. A flag hangs upside down indicates distress, knowing the frequencies during emergencies to help people. VHF 121.5 Air Distress contacting a plane and VHF 500 can be used to radio help to ships around the world. Cell phones have played a significant role in helping people during emergencies. They can also be a distraction as well. When you think back 100 years ago, NO Internet, NO Cell phones, or Blackberries, what did people do?

Even the most primative means to communicate still works today. Smoke signals, flashing light, day shapes from a mask of a ship, flaps on a plane, noise, or even just tapping out S.O.S a series of (three dits ... three dahs --- three dits ... ) over and over again until someone hears you.

God gave us five senses. During emergencies you have to use them. Smelling your area for clean oxygen, breathing conditions, touching and feeling your environment, seeing with your eyes, tasting food, and hearing. Listening to your surroundings.

Godbless and Peace to the World!!!

John F.
|
United States
January 22, 2010

John F. in U.S. writes:

The Secretary's position is a clear, resounding, and welcome call for the extension of democratic principles to our emerging technologies. The foresight shown here is the equivalent to this country's early commitment to libraries and then the Interstate Highway system. Each created opportunity and equal access for all; each shows enlightened self-interest; each is a bridge to a better future. Only this time it's global. That the typewriter generation recognizes and embraces the future in this way is a profound credit to them.

Thank you!

bLaine K.
|
United States
January 22, 2010

Blaine K. in U.S.A. writes:

i was Literally just having a "conference of concern" within the depths of my own mind this past week, worrying over the fate of the internet.
Suffice to say, reading over the details of Miss Clinton's speech my nerves were put to ease. It is a great relief to know that the government is recognizing the importance, value, and immense power of the internet.

on a side note: what a shame it is that there are such few comments on this topic, not to mention that only 1 comment prior to my own was from an American. I hope this doesn't reflect or forshadow that the rest of the worLd is/will be more interested in the events of the US than it's citizens themselves.

come on youth of America, get active, get informed, get involved!

-bLaine K.

Delphi4
|
United Kingdom
January 22, 2010

Delphi4 in United Kingdom writes:

US should learn how to respect and other countries' values. We are living in a diverse world, US's value is not superior than the others.

Li. J.
|
China
January 22, 2010

Li J. in China writes:

freedom of expression is urgent reqirement of prople more than a slogan. Whilst the state often act depress the news but put it up with the critique.

palgye
|
South Korea
January 22, 2010

Palgye in South Korea writes:

Politics and economy of China, the society, when understands all cotton of culture, setup the law thinks that must grasp the people who has a power first. Is accidental and thinks that does not exist. From politics, minimum …

Will be who? And, why? The problem which will solve in dialogue solves the but do solving depend on power?

Sylvia
|
Michigan, USA
January 22, 2010

Sylvia in Michigan writes:

I am so glad to hear that an Internet that allows freedom to communicate, without having your e-mails that are going out or coming in blocked, is coming. I have been concerned about this as it continues to happen to me and has for some years now. I would be so happy to see such a change, both for our country of America and for the rest of the world.

Jeremy S.
|
China
January 22, 2010

Jeremy S. in China writes:

Madame Secretary, thanks for this landmark speech on Internet freedom, which inspires millions of Chinese netizens who are walled in a restricted and censored "Internet" far away from Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc.

And hoping the new technologies will help people around world to have equal access to knowledge and ideas.

Michele p.
|
Sweden
January 22, 2010

Michele in Sweden writes:

Thank you Secretary of State Clinton, the Internet is Democracy and inamorata so proud of your speech ans so proud to have you as secretary of state! Freedom rang a bit louder because of it!

Armstrong
|
United Kingdom
January 22, 2010

Armstrong in the United Kingdom writes:

Just listened to your speech..excellent. This speech needs to be circulated throughout the education system..Information Technology.

Catherine F.
|
New York, USA
January 22, 2010

Catherine F. in New York writes:

Secretary Clinton's message rings out strongly in countries that suppress the Internet like China or Belarus or Turkmenistan, and it's good to see America stand up for what makes it strong and benefits all countries, and not get contorted about "imposing our way of life on others" -- because this is about universal human rights.

But the celebration of the First Amendment on the Internet rings hollow given that the First Amendment *does not apply on government websites* open to the public for comments. Here on this very page, the TOS are as restrictive as any corporate blog service, the First Amendment cannot be invoked, and some of the worst features of MMORPG forums like "voting up and down" and "report this post for abuse" have been incorporated, in blatant violation of First Amendment protections, on sites like the White House Office for Science and Technology. All this needs to be reviewed and changed.

Mike C.
|
China
January 22, 2010

Mike C. in China writes:

I'm a junior school student from Shenzhen, China, where Internet is widely used and informations are mainly spread with new medias comparing to other cities.

Censorship has bothered a lot of people, especially young people in China. And Chinese government are putting efforts to restrict freedom of speech, even freedom of opinions. I believed it was a domestic issue, but in this interconnected world, it obviously has become a global issue. You did a great job on making statements, and I'm looking forward to seeing much more actions against chinese censorship policy. And I hope that US government can take action though WTO.

Thank you for your speech and I'm deeply impressed.

Joshua J.
|
Texas, USA
January 22, 2010

Joshua J. in Texas writes:

Incredible!

Very well delivered Secretary Clinton.

It seems you have essentially named a worthy common goal, free access to uncensored information for every human. As the solution is already known, all that is left is to map a path from where we are now towards that end. I like to work backwards so, one logical step would be to ensure access for all United States citizens. Why not go Pan-American with that concept? Set the standard at home and lead by example.

Great Start - I love it,

Joshua J
High School Teacher

Tom P.
|
United Kingdom
January 22, 2010

Tom P. in the United Kingdom writes:

As much as I admire Madam Secretary Clinton she is missing two important points in this Internet/Google spat. Firstly, Google knew the terms and conditions demanded by the Chinese Gov't BEFORE they leapt this arrangement. Now they what to renage on it, and thats supposed to be OK. This says an awful lot about doing business with US companies. Secondly, Madam Secretary clearly understands little about about Chinese history. Things change culturally at a much slower pace than in the west, and the Chinese Gov't have actually stated that in the past.

Brad A.
|
Georgia, USA
January 22, 2010

Brad A. in Georgia writes:

Secretary Clinton,

I applaud and support you comments on freedom of the knowledge on the Internet. The people of the world deserve the freedom of thought, even if they are denied the freedom of speech.

It is disheartening to imagine that possibly the best minds of our age may be confined behind something as simple as a filter.

Paolo S.
|
Italy
January 22, 2010

Paolo S. in Italy writes:

Dear Madame Secretary of State,

Many thanks for your fascinating speech, I appreciated a lot in particular what you said about the ‘freedom of expression’’: “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.”
Moreover: “The freedom to connect is like the freedom of assembly, only in cyberspace. It allows individuals to get online, come together, and hopefully cooperate. Once you’re on the internet, you don’t need to be a tycoon or a rock star to have a huge impact on society.”
These days are sad days, bad days for the Italian demcracy. Mr Berlusconi has won two general elections and can claim to have a mandate from Italians who have long known the charges against him. But Italy has failed to mature politically thanks to his dominance of the scene. It has been mired in disputes between politicians and judges over Mr Berlusconi’s fate. It has failed to establish a clear separation of government and media powers. Berlusconi is ruling Italy by 'ad personam' laws, thought up to elude the trials instituted by Italian courts against him for alleged corruption.
The head of government in a democracy cannot be above the law. Any other verdict would have been a further deformation of Italy’s dysfunctional political system.
Through internet, as ‘Purple People Network’ on Facebook, we organised the international demonstration 'No Berlusconi Day' last 5th December, asking he to resign and defend against the accusations of alleged corruption.
The ‘freedom to connect’, at the moment, it’s the only way we have for exchanging ideas and criticize our government in Italy.
Thanks again
Paolo S.

sharla m.
|
District Of Columbia, USA
January 22, 2010

Sharla M. in Washington writes:

On behalf of our human rights work United Hope UAE absolutely supports and admires the stand that Sec. of State Hillary Clinton has exspressed in respect of:

Freedom of expression

Freedom of worship

Freedom from want

Freedom from fear

Freedom to connect

Thank you

Robson M.
|
Brazil
January 22, 2010

Robson S.G. in Brazil writes:

I am in a third world country. We are moving, growing, understanding the technology and research. We have noted the great progress in recent decades due to technology. This has become the flagship for the expansion of the reflections in all chains economy. Wise words where given in the text, 'that the technology used to lift people out of poverty and advance technologically. "

Hope C.
|
Illinois, USA
January 22, 2010

Hope W.C. in Illinois writes:

Excellent message. Laudable goals. Cannot force others but can gently lead.

yugo n.
|
Indonesia
January 22, 2010

introduce my name is Yugo N. from Jakarta - Indonesia. be an honor for me to communicate with you Mr. President of the United States through a tweeter though. I'm a fan of your Mr. President. thank you so much.
wassalamu'alaikum. Best Regards - Yugo N.
Love u:)

steven
January 22, 2010

Steven writes:

important message.

Jorge A.
|
Ecuador
January 25, 2010

Jorge G. A. in Ecuador writes:

Madame Secretary:

I am a Cuban Professor living in Ecuador. Thanks for your excellent speech. As you said promoting social, economic development and Internet freedom of expression can be frustrating in our countries, but any person in the World deserve Internet Freedom
Thanks again

carol h.
|
Pennsylvania, USA
January 25, 2010

Carol H. in Pennsylvania writes:

how i would love to talk with you,so scared for me & my families' life. received something from federal security thru email i know nothing about,wrongfully terminated from employer,denied police reports,harrassed by police so much more i would like to talk about.please spare me

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