Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Internet Freedom and the Digital Earthquake of 2011

Michael H. Posner, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, U.S. Department of State, Jan. 17, 2012

From the speech: "This past year has highlighted the promise and the peril of the Internet as a transformative tool both for human expression and for repression. So I would like to look back at the lessons learned from the digital earthquake of 2011, and offer a few thoughts on the way forward…. The Arab Awakening has been like a geopolitical earthquake sending aftershocks rumbling around the world. Repressive regimes trembled at the power of people connected, and redoubled their attempts to crack down. They did it by jailing bloggers, hijacking Facebook pages, and, in the case of Iran, requiring cybercaf├ęs to install surveillance cameras. They managed to buy sophisticated technologies to sniff out digital dissidents and silence them.

Meanwhile, some governments are trying to impose national and international restrictions that would cripple the exercise of human rights online. They are using terms like, quote, “information security” and “internet management” to try to justify repression. We must protect the free flow of information and also the integrity of the network." Read more

See Also
State of the Net Conference
Advisory Committee to the Congressional Internet Caucus