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Hillary Clinton Says Internet Freedom Is Crucial

The State Department has given a shout-out to global
network openness.  Secretary of
State Hillary Clinton said Thursday (Jan. 21) that governments should not
prevent people from connecting to web sites and each other.  She made those comments at a speech on
Internet freedom Thursday at the Newseum in Washington

 She talked about censorship around the world,
including China and
suggested U.S.
companies need to lead by example.

She likened the freedom to connect to the Internet to
freedom of assembly during a speech that mirrored the Four Freedoms speech of
Franklin Roosevelt.

She spoke of Internet freedom as a key to foreign and
domestic policy going forward. "An attack on one nation's network is an
attack on all," she said. She said the message was for this country as
well as our neighbors.

said that freedom to connect is critically important to individuals as well as
to nations. Unfettered access to search engine technology is crucial, she said.

But while the U.S. is committed to advancing
Internet freedoms, she also said it was committed to making sure that
information is secure. Everyone's networks need to stay free, secure and
reliable, she said, adding that those who disrupt the free flow of information
pose a major threat.

She announced that over the next year, the administration
will work with academia and the private sector to provide new tools to help
citizens engage with and criticize their government at home and abroad.  Mobile application developers will get funds
to help develop applications to do that and much more.

The administration is launching a contest for new
applications, like Microsoft's digital doctor and will provide grants to
develop them.

companies are making Internet freedom a greater part of their business, she
said, and added she hoped businesses in other countries will follow suit.
Countries that restrict free access to information risk walling themselves off
from the progress of the next century, she said.

also said that the State Department will be convening high-level meetings with
network services firms next month to talk about Internet freedom.

Clinton said the U.S. has made
enormous progress in our country in bridging the digital divide, but more needs
to be done to encourage access.