US secretary of state defends Internet Freedom
Monday, January 25, 2010
The United States secretary of State, Hilary Clinton, has disclosed that information freedom supports the peace and security that provides a foundation for global progress.
Clinton was speaking Friday in Washington DC, on the topic ‘US Government’s Strategy on Internet Freedom’ which was televised and broadcasted for journalists in The Gambia at a forum convened at the United States Embassy in Banjul. The cross-cutting speech, which lasted for nearly 45 minutes highlighted US administrative strategy for protecting freedom in the networked age of the 21st Century, highlighting new ground for US Foreign Policy, especially in the area where human rights, development, technology and innovation conversed.
The US secretary of state’s speech also touched on the importance of protecting and promoting fundamental values such as the freedom of expression and assembly in a world in which the existence of these rights are increasingly online. She began by elaborating on the importance of access to information making reference to the recent earthquake devastation that rocked the Caribbean nation of Haiti. “Before I begin, I want to just speak briefly about Haiti, because during the last few days, the people of Haiti and the people of the world have seen a tragedy of staggering proportions. Our hemisphere has seen its share of hardship, but there are few precedents for the situation we are facing in Port-au-Prince. Communication networks have played a critical role in our response,” she said.
According to her, hours after the earthquake, they worked with partners in private and first set up a campaign for ‘Haiti response’ so that mobile phone users in the United States could donate to relief efforts via text messages. She said this initiative is a showcase of the generosity of the American people and thus raising over $25 million for recovery efforts. She further revealed that days after the earthquake, 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. “The spread of information is forming a new nervous system for our planet. When the disaster occurred in Haiti, the rest of us learnt about it in real time and from real people and we responded in real time as well” she pointed out.
Clinton stressed that government and citizens must have confidence that the networks at the core of their national security and economic prosperity are safe and resilient. She added: “Now this is more than hackers who deface websites. Our ability to bank online, use electronics commerce, and safeguard billions of dollars in intellectual property are all at stake if few cannot rely on the security of our information network.” She also spoke at length about the need to have access to information while at the same time condemning those who incite others to violence, such as the agents of Al-Qaida network using the internet to promote the mass murder of innocent people across the world. “This and hate speech that targets individuals on the basis of their race, religion, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation is reprehensible,” she said, while emphasising that the Internet can help bridge divides between people of different faiths.
Author: by Sheriff Janko