Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Hillary Clinton - Internet is Freedom of Speech in Cyberspace

I found this article this morning and thought that it was not only interesting but hopeful in our plight.  Laws and the changes made to them are all about perspective and perceived value to the general public.  She also implies that it is a fundamental right that shouldn't be taken away in the name of temporary safety.

Here is the article... Lets here what all of you think of it...

Clinton urges: “an open internet will lead to stronger countries”

February 16, 2011 - 5:24am

Hillary Clinton spoke at George Washington University to address Internet Freedom’ and ways that the U.S. can ensure free internet access around the world. The speech was related to the measures taken by Egypt over the past weeks to restrict access in the country as many protestants were communicating to the world via Facebook and Twitter.

The State Secretary says that the Internet is an accelerant of the way to start political change and there is now a debate of whether the internet is a voice for suppression or liberation. With 2 billion of the earth population being online the internet has become the world’s Town Square, where people are assembling to connect with each other. And that presents a challenge, says Clinton.

“We need to have a serious conversation about what rules should exists and not exist and why.” She adds, “the freedom to assemble and associate is applicable to cyberspace.”

Clinton explains, “For the U.S. the choice is clear— we place ourselves on the side of openness. Internet freedom raises tensions like all freedoms do but the benefits outweigh the costs.”

Others have taken a different approach than the U.S. government, says Clinton. Some governments that arrest bloggers and limit their access to the internet may claim to be seeking security but they are taking the wrong path, she asserted.

Talking about social network Clinton notes that they are now becoming a collaborative space for assembly and political expression. Walls preventing this interaction are far easier to erect than maintain, she warns. “And these actions incur opportunity costs for closed freedom of expression. When countries curtail internet freedom, they place limits on economic future.”

Freedom of expression is part of what fuels innovation in a country, Clinton says. She highlights China, where internet censorship is high but economic growth is strong. But she warns that the restrictions will have economic costs for China in the future.

“I urge countries to join us in the bet we have made, which is a bet that an open internet will lead to stronger countries,” she concludes. “Innovation thrives where ideas of all kinds are shared and explored. The U.S. will continue to promote and internet where people’s rights are protected, and has found strong partners and organizations to support this initiative worldwide.”

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