News / USA

Clinton to High-Tech Firms: Don't Aid Web Repression

People at an Internet cafe in Kunming, China. Beijing authorities have intensified controls over the growing number of bloggers using the Internet, March 2007 (file photo).
People at an Internet cafe in Kunming, China. Beijing authorities have intensified controls over the growing number of bloggers using the Internet, March 2007 (file photo).
TEXT SIZE - +

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Thursday urged software companies and high-tech firms not to sell technology that would help repressive governments restrict Internet freedom.

Delivering a keynote address in the Netherlands at a 23-nation Dutch-sponsored conference at the Hague, convened to launch a coalition of countries that work with companies and civil society groups to advance Internet freedom, she also warned against the imposition of national barriers to the Internet.

Explaining that there are cases where the repressive use of products may or may not be foreseen by high-tech companies that make them, she said private firms need to embrace their role in protecting Internet freedom and avoid offering authoritarian regimes, in the Middle East and elsewhere, "the tools of repression."

"Today’s news stories are about companies selling the hardware and software of repression to authoritarian governments," she said. "When companies sell surveillance equipment to the security agency of Syria, or Iran, or in past times to Gadhafi, there can be no doubt it will be used to violate rights."

Dutch Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal said it is "vital" that technology developed in democratic countries not become "complicit" in human rights abuses.

"I say it clearly and loudly here: Export of certain technologies to certain countries must simply be prohibited if we know that they will be used to limit freedoms," he said. "We are worried about the proliferation of Internet filter technologies reaching repressive environments. As a government, it is our responsibility to prevent that."

Clinton, ending a five-day European trip, also warned of efforts by authoritarian states to use global organizations to impose national barriers to the Internet, replacing the loose public-private partnership that now governs it.

"If we’re not careful, governments could upend the current Internet governance framework in a quest to increase their own control. Some governments use Internet governance issues as a cover for pushing an agenda that would justify restricting human rights on-line," she said. "We must be wary of such agendas and united in our shared convictions that human rights apply on-line."

Clinton did not specify countries having such an agenda, but aides say she was referring to, among other things, a proposed "code of conduct" for information security introduced at the U.N. General Assembly earlier this year by Russia, China, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

The Secretary of State said governments erecting barriers to Internet freedom will eventually face a "dictator's dilemma" of having to resort to greater oppression to keep barriers standing at the price of missed opportunities benefits.

You May Like

Abuja Blast Impacts Lives, Livelihoods

Officials say they are looking at ways to help bombing victims and boosting security More

Cambodia Technology Adviser Criticizes Cybercrime Draft Law

Phu Leewood says current criminal code can be used to prosecute offenders and that there is no need for a separate law More

Photogallery A Year Later, Boston Remembers Deadly Marathon Bombings

City pauses to honor victims and salute emergency workers who came to their assistance in frantic moments after blasts More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid