The Computer & Communications Industry Association applauds Secretary Clinton’s public request to a U.S. ally to stop blocking social networking sites being used by political protesters and not to stop peaceful protesters in Egypt. After Secretary Clinton’s request, Egypt stopped blocking Twitter and Facebook for several hours, according to various news reports.
A year ago, Secretary Clinton called for Internet freedom to be a diplomatic priority for the United States, and every step by the U.S. government to do so is important in a world where the freedom of the Internet is under constant assault by authoritarian regimes and well-intentioned entities trying to tame a range of social or business abuses by restricting the Internet.
The following statement can be attributed to CCIA President & CEO Ed Black:
“Sec. Clinton should be praised for taking a stand for the thousands of people in Egypt relying on Internet sites to communicate and organize politically. The Obama administration has recognized obstacles to free and open communications as both a human rights issue and a barrier to trade and commerce, and seems to be increasingly responding to countries – even allies – who restrict access online.
“We hope the United States and other countries that advocate free speech can convince Egypt to reconsider its actions and realize that silencing dissent in this way is not a realistic solution for elected leaders.”
“The Internet can be a tool to enhance political communication and participation in a democracy – or governments can use it as an even more intrusive way to control access to information, spy on its citizens and detect political adversaries.
“The US government and others who care about liberty need to get involved early when nations first place restrictions on the Internet so that the Internet is used as a tool for freedom not repression.”