The State Department announced plans Tuesday to step up a campaign to combat efforts by foreign governments to restrict use of the Internet. At a news conference, Josette Shiner, a top State Department trade expert, called the Internet "the greatest purveyor of news and information in history" but said too often the flow is blocked by government censors.Link
Shiner announced the formation of a task force that will consider, among other issues, the foreign policy aspects of Internet freedom, including the use of technology to restrict access to political content. (...) Under Secretary of State Paula Dobriansky said a U.S. team was en route to China on Monday to discuss the issue with Chinese authorities.
Greg Walton says,
Earlier today, Secretary Condoleezza Rice announced the Global Internet Freedom Task Force in order to ensure "a robust US foreign policy response" to the international issues and fundamental human rights concerns inherent in the expansion of the Internet including: "the use of technology to restrict access to political content and the impact of censorship efforts on US companies; the use of technology to track and repress dissidents; and efforts to modify Internet governance structures in order to restrict the free flow of information..."Link to more information on tomorrow's congressional submcommittee hearing, "The Internet in China: A Tool for Freedom or Suppression?" Link
Link to On-the-Record Briefing by Under Secretary of State for Economic, Business and Agricultural Affairs Josette S. Shiner and Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs Paula Dobriansky.
Here's more on the State department's announcement -- and word that this will be the first congressional hearing open to bloggers. Link