Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s recent announcement on US policy advocating for basic freedom and human rights in cyberspace marks a major evolution in the US government’s role in the digital world. In a speech addressing internet freedom, Clinton emphasized that freedom now extends beyond physical spaces, with blogs, emails, and text messages serving as new forums for idea exchange and targets for censorship.
Clinton also addressed the suspected hacking of American technology firms by the Chinese government, calling for new rules in cyberspace that would hold nation-states accountable for cyber attacks and espionage activities. “Countries or individuals that engage in cyber attacks should face consequences and international condemnation,” she said.
A new $15 million in programming will be allocated to promote internet freedom, expand access for women and other groups, train civil society organizations, and support new media pilot projects in the Middle East and North Africa. State Department official Jared Cohen noted that the Department will now engage corporations as stakeholders to cooperate in promoting and defending freedom in cyberspace.
This announcement could lead to far-reaching consequences, as the US government integrates the internet into its other diplomatic tools, elevating internet freedom as a major element of foreign policy.