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

US Investors Eye IPO for China's Alibaba

E-commerce giant handled 80 percent of China's online business last year, logging more Internet transactions than US-based Amazon.com and eBay combined More

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

As cease-fire begins, Palestinians celebrate in streets; Israelis remain wary More

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

In treatment of a 12-year-old boy Chinese doctors used a 3-D printer and special software to create an exact replica of vertebra 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.
Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implanti
X
August 27, 2014 4:53 PM
A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. VOA News reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Northern California Quake: No Way to Know When Next One Will Hit

A magnitude 6.0 earthquake rocked northern California’s Napa Valley on Sunday. Roads twisted and water mains burst. It was the wine country’s most severe quake in 15 years, and while hospitals treated many people, no one was killed. Arash Arabasadi has more from Washington on what the future may hold for those residents living on a fault line.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that were eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports from the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, where one band is bringing Yiddish tango to an American audience.

AppleAndroid