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Clinton speech on Internet freedom won't focus on Google and China

Anyone expecting Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to focus on the feud between U.S. Internet giant Google and China in an anticipated Internet speech this morning will likely be disappointed.

"We are not the foreign policy arm of Google," Alec Ross, senior adviser for innovation at the State Department, said in a speech at the New America Foundation yesterday.

"While we will look to the Chinese for an explanation, we need to engage in this appropriately recognizing the primacy of the role of the private sector in this," he said.

In Clinton's "Internet Freedom" policy speech at the Newseum in Washington, she is instead expected to reinforce constitutional rights of freedom of speech, press and assembly and how the administration can update foreign policies to ensure those guarantees are maintained in a digital age. She will then announce a series of much-anticipated policies, or "deliverables," to execute those goals, Ross said.

The Internet has made borders fuzzier with people around the globe (including 4.6 billion cell phone users) accessing and spreading information like never before. At the same time, illustrated in post Iranian elections and China's alleged cyberattacks on Google to access email accounts of human rights acitivists, the flow of information in and out of nations is under seige. Clinton also sees mobile phones, social media platforms and broadband Internet as keys to foreign policy goals to fight poverty and gender-based violence.

"This really is a space where economics, human rights and security come together," Ross said in his New American Foundation speech before a discussion on China and Internet censorship. "And in thinking about how we want to update our framework, Secretary Clinton has said we have longstanding values that are not years and not decades old but centuries old ... and what we saw in 2009 were real challenges to each of these longstanding values, each of these freedoms in digital spaces."

By Cecilia Kang  |  January 21, 2010; 8:00 AM ET
Categories:  Google , International  
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Next: Google's Schmidt: We want to stay in China


It is good to hear that the State Department does not consider itself to be an arm of Google (even though it's doing Google's bidding in many ways). It's the New America Foundation which is the lobbying arm of Google.

Posted by: squirma | January 21, 2010 11:30 PM | Report abuse

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