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).

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

Mali's Female Basketball Players Rebound After Islamist Occupation

Islamist extremists ruled northern Mali for most of 2012, imposing strict Sharia law, and now some 18 months later, the region is slowly getting back on its feet More

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

Many Chinese-made products go unsold, for now, with numerous Vietnamese consumers still angry over recent dispute More

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies 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.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid