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

South Korea Divided on Response to North’s Cyber Attack

In past five years, officials in Seoul have accused Pyongyang of hacking into banks, government websites, causing chaos and inflicting millions of dollars in damages More

Video Calm Amid Fear in Daily Life in S. Sudan’s Bentiu

Residents have been trying to regain some sense of normalcy, but planning for the future remains uncertain as fear of attacks looms More

2015 Could Be Watershed for Syria Conflict

Republican control of US Senate in January could lead to more aggressive policy against IS militants in Syria - and against regime of Bashar al-Assad 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.
Ugandan Doctors Aid Victims of Sudan's Civil Wari
X
Adam Bailes
December 22, 2014 3:45 PM
In Sudan's state of South Kordofan, the number of amputees as result of civil war is in the thousands, but few have access to sufficient medical help. Adam Bailes recently visited the area and says a small team of Ugandan doctors has been providing remote help, producing new prosthetic limbs for those in need.
Video

Video Ugandan Doctors Aid Victims of Sudan's Civil War

In Sudan's state of South Kordofan, the number of amputees as result of civil war is in the thousands, but few have access to sufficient medical help. Adam Bailes recently visited the area and says a small team of Ugandan doctors has been providing remote help, producing new prosthetic limbs for those in need.
Video

Video Jane Monheit Christmas Special

Chanteuse Jane Monheit sings the holiday classic “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” and explains why it’s her favorite song of the season.
Video

Video Calm Amid Fear in Daily Life in S. Sudan’s Town of Bentiu

Six months ago, Bentiu was a ghost town. The capital of northern Unity State, near South Sudan’s important oil fields, had changed hands several times in fighting between government forces and rebels. Calm returned in November and since then, residents of Bentiu have been trying to regain some sense of normalcy. Bentiu’s market has reopened there are plans to start school again. But fears of new attacks hang heavy, as Benno Muchler reports from Bentiu.
Video

Video US Business Groups Press for Greater Access to Cuba

President Barack Obama's decision to do all he can to ease restrictions on U.S. trade, travel and financial activities with Cuba has drawn criticism from some conservatives and Republicans. People who bring tourists to the island and farmers who want to sell more food to Cuba, however, think they can do a lot more business with Cuba. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.

All About America

AppleAndroid