Internet Freedom in the New World: With Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Attorney General Eric Holder

[Garling Files has two special Guest Authors today. They really need no introduction. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and United States Attorney General Eric Holder are with us to share their thoughts on Internet freedoms. Yes, I couldn’t believe they agreed to be here either.]

Thanks very much, wonderful folks at Garling Files. We’re honored to have access to such a platform that once wrote a post on Chat Roulette. We are here today to talk about Internet freedoms and the great progress the world has seen just in the last few months. To start, Secretary Clinton will give her views, followed by Attorney General Holder.

Sec. Clinton: Thanks. Before I start, I’d just like to announce that my department has recently pledged 25 million dollars to helping expand Internet freedoms around the world. This staggering amount of money will empower and fund online activists in their fight for a people’s voice, for a government they choose and is transparent in its actions. The citizen’s behind China’s Great Firewall or the peaceful protesters of Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, Syria, Iran and any other nation who wishes to throw off the shackles of oppression and bask in the warm rays of democracy will reap the benefits of this generous aid.

And before you ask, because I know times are tight, these funds were raised by auctioning an iPod dock from one of our stealth bombers on eBay. We figure, when laid against the 670 billion dollars the President is budgeting for defense against these exact same regimes that are a threat to us because they are autocratic dictatorships in the first place, we’re getting a deal. That’s 0.003%! The steals you can find on the Internet these days really are amazing.

Anyway, with regards to the forum at hand, I’d like to work directly off my remarks given at the fancy Newseum in Washington DC on January 21st of 2010. I, and my department, have given many speeches since, but these ideals have always been the cornerstone of this country’s stance and beliefs with regards to freedom of speech.

“On their own, new technologies do not take sides in the struggle for freedom and progress, but the United States does. We stand for a single internet where all of humanity has equal access to knowledge and ideas. And we recognize that the world’s information infrastructure will become what we and others make of it. Now, this challenge may be new, but our responsibility to help ensure the free exchange of ideas goes back to the birth of our republic.

“Some countries have violated the privacy of citizens who engage in non-violent political speech. These actions contravene the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, which tells us that all people have the right ‘to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.’ With the spread of these restrictive practices, a new information curtain is descending across much of the world.

“The internet is a network that magnifies the power and potential of all others. And that’s why we believe it’s critical that its users are assured certain basic freedoms. Freedom of expression is first among them. This freedom is no longer defined solely by whether citizens can go into the town square and criticize their government without fear of retribution.

“We do not block your attempts to communicate with the people in the United States.

“Let us make these technologies a force for real progress the world over.”

Thank you.

Attorney General Holder: Clap, clap, clap. Well said Hillary. Well said.

Clinton: Thanks.

Holder: Couldn’t agree more. By the way, did I mention that your pant suit is really sharp today?

Clinton: Well, Bill certainly didn’t. So thank you.

Holder: Well, it’s the truth. He should look up from the Times crossword puzzle now and then.

Clinton: He should. Anyway…your remarks?

Holder: What?

Clinton: Your remarks about the freedom of expression on the Internet and its role in giving the people voice and transparency to the world around them.

Holder: Right. Yeah. Didn’t have time.

Clinton: What? You’re embarrassing us.

Holder: Just been busy.

Clinton: Busy? Doing what?

Holder: Holding accountable those responsible for the Wikileaks. Prosecuting and demanding imprisonment–maybe execution if we can work a treason charge for some.

Clinton: Oh.

Holder: I mean, those people tear at the fabric of our government.

Clinton: What? Don’t be so dramatic.

Holder: Actually, those were your words.

Clinton: …I got the pant suit from Saks.

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Follow Caleb at www.twitter.com/calebgarling

Caleb Garling lives in San Francisco and wrote The St George’s Angling Club, available at

www.calebgarling.com

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