Join a Discussion on the State Department's Internet Freedom Strategy

Posted by DipNote Bloggers
February 17, 2011
Replay: Conversations With America on the State Department's Internet Freedom Strategy

Update: Watch video of the webcast here.

On Friday, February 18, 2011, Michael Posner, Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, will hold a conversation with Leslie Harris, President and CEO of the Center for Democracy and Technology, on the State Department's internet freedom strategy. The discussion will be moderated by P.J. Crowley, Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs, and streamed live on DipNote, the Department of State's official blog, at 10:30 a.m. (EST). You are invited to participate by submitting questions, some of which will be selected for response during the live broadcast. Submit your questions now in the comment section below.

This is the eleventh in the Conversations with America video series coordinated by the Bureau of Public Affairs, in which the State Department's senior leadership hosts conversations live, online, with leaders of prominent non-governmental organizations. Discussion topics include foreign policy and global issues and provide a candid view of how leaders from civil society engage the Department on pressing foreign policy issues.



Daniel S.
Arkansas, USA
February 17, 2011

Daniel S. in Arkansas writes:

I have Macroeconomics test at that time. Please send me an e-mail about major topics.

Ohio, USA
February 17, 2011

Jessica in Ohio writes:

How does the State Department balance the interests in open communication and Internet freedom with other more traditional foreign policy goals?

For example, what happens if governments start using the open Internet against their citizens via data collection? A government could presumably crowd source identities of activists who have posted video, pictures, blogs, etc through government supporters.

In addition, how much does a conflict like this play into the policy goals and strategy of a group like CDT?

Thank you.

Annie K.
District Of Columbia, USA
February 17, 2011

Annie K. in Washington, DC writes:

The U.S. has condemned the internet shut down in Egypt, but to some extent, weren't certain American corporations involved in the shut down? What is the State Department position on this, and how do you plan on handling this issue in the future?

Amin M.
Louisiana, USA
February 18, 2011

Amin M. in Louisiana writes:

What does #netfreedom mean for Iranian users who have to endure American-imposed sanctions on web companies dealing with Iranians in addition to the Iranian government shameless censorship of the flow of information?

Mahmood A.
February 18, 2011

Mahmood in Bahrain writes:

Bahrain has gradually become a certified enemy of the Internet with wide censorship disguised as "protecting citizens" from the perils of pornography while the actual sites blocked are any opposition voice, even mundane aggregation pages like "" and even an anti-sectarian site at "" as examples (disclosure, I run both and can provide you with others)

During the public pro-democracy protests since 14 Feb in which so far seven have been killed by the security forces, the Internet has been throttled making it almost unusable with several black-spots especially at demonstration locations.

Civic society and Internet aware persons and webmasters have educated many people on how to circumvent these blocks successfully, and have run workshops on how to protect identities online; however, the government must be made aware the damage this behaviour does nothing but make increase the resolve of the people to reach the information they seek regardless, but the draconian methods applied limits the feasibility of doing business in this country.

Your help is needed in (1) protecting the online community, especially the political activists seeking peaceful release of their grievances and (2) exerting pressure on the government to respect human rights chief amongst which is the freedoms of expression and (3) running programs to assist the online community reach the content they desire.

Florida, USA
February 18, 2011

Roger in Florida writes:

I have read in some news articles that the United Nations wants to regulate or manage the Internet. How is the U.S. government addressing this?

Maha W.
United States
February 18, 2011

Maha W. in the U.S.A. writes:

Like anything else, freedom and democarcy are very important. Internet freedom is very important as well. How can we avoid it will not be shut down again? I was in Egypt during the revolution and with no internet access things were pretty hard!

james s.
February 18, 2011

James S. in Thailand writes:

Freedom to control the internet Strategy.

That also means defending the internet keeping it open and uncensored correct?

We know there are people who are working to improve and defend the internet currently.

The question is what else can be done in the future to achieve control of the internet in order to keep it open?

The justification for controlling the internet is protecting freedom of speech and the free flow of information to civil society.

People have become more aware of how important a tool the internet has become in helping in their struggle for Universal Rights.

Molly G.
District Of Columbia, USA
February 18, 2011

Molly G. in Washington, DC writes:

How is the United States government advancing Internet freedom in China? Can internet freedom be achieved worldwide?

Patrick D.
Georgia, USA
February 18, 2011

Patrick Anthony D. in Georgia (U.S.A.) writes:

The internet is an extension of human thought. To limit that thought is to limit humanity.

Harry O.
February 18, 2011

Harry O. in Israel writes:

Online social networks are now the preferred transmitter used by Islamic radicals who try to create a culture of jihad. The target group is the young Asian Muslims & their counterparts in the diaspora community in the United States, Europe & Australia. The cyberspace today is as important as the real world to counter & pre-empt the threat of terrorism & ideological extremism.

Can you ask Asst, SoS Posner what the US government is doing to stop social networks becoming a tool of cyber radicalisation?

February 18, 2011

Adri in Indonesia writes:

Their will be disagreement between Parties when your trying to lead People ...

When disagreement is Peaceful it's no concern at all ...

but when it becomes violent ...

Now that's a concern for us

and we've seen the signs of it already ...


Thank you So Much

Florida, USA
February 18, 2011

George in Florida writes:

Within this context I believe we must observe the very nature of communication within the socio-political environment. It is self evident that freedom of expression should be an innate right of all people, but uniquely and coincidentally we are corresponding via the internet. This medium of modern discourse has fundementally changed the dynamics of cultural interactivety as recent events have proven. Although we value the ability to share our personal perspectives there is inherent danger in free expression which has been assumed or ignored. If we maintain the right to articulate unabated, then logic would prevail that we may act accordingly. Hmmm!

Richard M.
District Of Columbia, USA
February 18, 2011

Richard M. in Washington, DC writes:

Internet and telcom companies always seem to be getting painted into a corner when a government comes knocking on their door demanding subscriber names, that certain content be blocked or even "pull the plug now."

At the most basic level, shouldn't companies have a game plan in place when such things happen, even if it's JUST to protect their image (reputation). Human Rights are important, but these events affect the bottom line, too.

Ryan M.
District Of Columbia, USA
February 18, 2011

Ryan M. in Washington, DC writes:

The Internet, social media, etc., aren't automatically a freight train to freedom; those same technologies can also be used against the public, right? So, in fighting for Internet freedom, aren't you at the same time placing powerful tools in the hands of repressive regimes?

Oregon, USA
February 18, 2011

Wendy in Oregon writes:

Pressing foreign policy issues: Behrain's protesters are being shot at as I type this message. Where is US? Behrain is a US ALLY!!!!! Where is the PRESSURE? Internet freedom requires journalists being allowed INSIDE the country to report what is happening. There are currently SIXTEEN international journalists being help at airport, unable to report on the attacks. This is OUTRAGEOUS. PLEASE DO SOMETHING.

Maureen V.
Massachusetts, USA
February 18, 2011

Maureen V. in Massachusetts writes:

"Internet Freedom Strategy" question: How will the topic of freelance ISP providers be developed in foreign policy, Bahrain for example?

New York, USA
February 18, 2011

Joseph in New York writes:

Question about GNI: In 5 years, why do you think others have not joined GNI? Also how is GNI viewed by governments other than the US?

waleed m.
February 18, 2011

Waleed M. in Yemen writes:

I want to ask the cause of freedom in a country ruled by tribal leaders, how the people could not be free from the Chairman of his tribe so that it can be liberated from the head of State. This is the current situation of Yemen and this is a problem very difficult, how can be solved without any casualties, and friendly.

jue c.
Maryland, USA
February 18, 2011

Jue C. in Maryland writes:

But I can't find the video and transcript? where can i find them?

DipNote Bloggers write:

The video and transcript will be posted soon. We'll provide a link as soon as they are available online.

New Mexico, USA
February 18, 2011

Eric in New Mexico writes:

@ Waleed M. in Yemen,

It's a great question, and I don't have a good answer for you, but perhaps there's examples within the Native American tribal structure that will help you find your own answers.

Then there's the Afghan tradition of the "loya jirga" that offers a democratic fora for inter-tribal relations and the discussion of common buisiness affecting the nation that may offer a blue-print to a process whereby some of those dificulties may find resolution.

As much as Afghanistan suffered civil war, and much adversity prior to America's removal of the taliban from power, it is the Afghan people who ultimately must make these same choices, and the structure of their process in doing this may be an effective way to address democracy from the local to national representation and help Yemen overcome it's own indiginous unrest and civil strife.

That al-quaida seeks to use your soverign territory to further its terrorist ambition is something that all the tribes in Yemen must address as a threat to their existance, if they wish to live in peace.

That is as much your fight as it is ours to win.

And so whether it be transforming the political landscape as you see fit to be democratic, or dealing with "apostates of Islam " like al-quaida, folks in Yemen can count on the American public's support and thereby, the support of this government to reach a point where these troubles are behind you and you're moving on into the future you seek as a nation.

I'm just speaking here as a citizen, not being a member of the government. The thing about democracy is that as a taxpayer, folks in gov. may serve at "the pleasure of the president." but they still work for us, the citizen and so one may make suggestion and expect that folks will think about it as long as it makes too much sense to ignore. And that concept of a public-private partnership is universal in application to any nation that aspires to be democratic.

So let me ask you, under present circumstance, if one member of a tribe had an idea that might help all the tribes deal with an issue, how would folks get together to discuss it and in what format could an individual present it?

Free and considered debate being the principal driving component of any democratic process.

Best regards,



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