Hillary Clinton speech on Internet freedom, Jan 2010 - NGO reactions
On 21 January 2010, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave a speech on Internet freedom in Washington, DC, that included a call for Internet companies to "challeng[e]...governments’ demands for censorship and surveillance" (full text of the speech). Here are some reactions by NGOs to the speech:
Human Rights First: "Clinton Speech Marks Major Turning Point for Promoting Freedom of Expression", 21 Jan 2010
"As last week's news about censorship of Google in China makes clear, it is vitally important that companies take action to promote respect for freedom of expression and privacy. But, as Secretary Clinton stated, companies need the support of their governments to fight...repressive censorship and surveillance practices..."
Human Rights Watch: "US: Clinton to Press for Internet Freedom", 21 Jan 2010
" 'Secretary Clinton has elevated internet freedom to a key US priority by confronting governments that censor online speech and supporting companies that stand up for human rights,' said Arvind Ganesan, business and human rights director for Human Rights Watch. 'The challenge now will be to put these goals into practice...' ...The administration should...ensure that all government agencies work to combat censorship. The Commerce Department or the US Trade Representative (USTR) should call for an open internet in the course of commercial diplomacy and trade negotiations, for example... The US should also consider examining US export control laws to determine whether certain technologies need to be better regulated to ensure that governments do not use them to censor their critics, Human Rights Watch said." [refers to Google, Microsoft, Yahoo!]
- See also "A Big Step Toward Online Freedom", Arvind Ganesan, Human Rights Watch, on AOL News 22 Jan 2010
Index on Censorship: "Analysis: Index's experts on Hillary Clinton's Internet freedom speech", 21 Jan 2010
Ian Brown, Senior research fellow at Oxford Internet Institute: "I hope it leads to a push for Internet companies to make that freedom meaningful. Microsoft, Yahoo!, Cisco and others can all do much more to protect the privacy and free speech of Internet users around the world. Search engines should join Google in refusing to provide censored results. Webmail providers should store messages and account information out of reach of repressive regimes. Infrastructure companies should refuse to sell “surveillance-ready” Internet routers to countries such as China and Iran."
[also includes comments by Ethan Zuckerman, Berkman Center for Internet & Society, Harvard Univ., and Co-founder of Global Voices; Bill Thompson, journalist & technology analyst; Leslie Harris, President of Center for Democracy & Technology]
Rebecca MacKinnon, fellow at Open Society Institute & Internet freedom expert: "How not to save the Internet...", 20 Jan 2010
"Secretary of State Hillary Clinton plans to give a big speech about Internet freedom on Thursday... The wrong message for Clinton to give on Thursday would be something to the effect of: "Never fear, netizens of China, America is here to free you!" Even worse, related variants, such as: "Never fear, netizens of internet-censoring nations, America is here to save you, galloping in on our trusty steed Google, brandishing our mighty weapon, Twitter!!" My dream speech would be about how the Internet poses a challenge to all governments and most companies... I would call on all governments to work together with citizens, companies and each other to build a globally interconnected, free and open network..."