Secretary of State Hillary Clinton unveiled a new US policy hoping to encourage the world governments to ensure their citizens have open access to the Internet.
The Secretary unveiled a new $15 million effort to help more women and young people in other countries access the Internet and communicate on the Web.
The freedom to connect is like the freedom of assembly in cyberspace, she said, speaking in Washington. It allows individuals to get online, come together, and hopefully cooperate in the name of progress.
The State Department and USAID will work outside governments, such as academics and technologists, to create technologies to further the rights for the citizens and their connectivity.
Clinton also condemned countries that engaged in cyber-attacks and censorship of their citizens.
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In an interconnected world, an attack on one nation's networks can be an attack on all, she said. By reinforcing that message, we can create norms of behavior among states and encourage respect for the global networked commons.
Clinton's comments come in the wake of attacks on Silicon Valley companies from sources originating in China, and Iranian suppression of Internet access during its most recent presidential elections.
In reference to these events, she said that any country which restricted free access to information risked walling themselves off from the progress of the next century.
Directly addressing the Google incident, Clinton called on Chinese authorities to conduct a thorough investigation of the cyber intrusions , and called for that investigation and its results to be transparent.
We stand for a single Internet, where all of humanity has equal access to knowledge and ideas, Clinton said.