Hilary Clinton to world governments: the world will divide into "open" and "closed" societies based on their Internet policies

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has repeated her view that the world's governments should respect Internet freedom, telling the Brasilia Open Government Summit that the world is dividing into "open" and "closed" societies characterized by their attitude towards net freedom. It's a laudable sentiment, but as they say, "We know you love freedom, we just wish you'd share." After all, America is one of the world's leading exporters of Internet censorship and surveillance laws (in the form of its intervention into copyright laws, as well as instigating unaccountable, secret copyright treaty negotiations like ACTA and TPP. They're also the world's leading exporter of Internet surveillance and censorship technology, thanks first to the US national requirement that telcoms companies buy equipment that allows for direct police surveillance, and the aggressive sale of this surveillance and control technology to the world's dictatorship by US firms.

​Speaking at the inaugural meeting of the Open Government Partnership in Brasilia, she said countries could only become more secure and peaceful if they were open. "In the 21st century, the US is convinced that one of the most significant divisions between nations will be not between east or west, nor over religion, so much as between open and closed societies," she said.

​"We believe those governments that hide from public view and dismiss ideas of openness and the aspirations of their people for greater freedom will find it increasingly difficult to create a secure society."

It's particularly galling that Secretary Clinton made these remarks even as the US Congress is poised to pass CISPA, which establishes a national US regime of censorship and warrantless surveillance.

Open or closed society is key dividing line of 21st century, says Hillary Clinton

(Image: Clinton Rally 90, a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike (2.0) image from kakissel's photostream)


    1. Also: “Particularly galling”? Come on. Her statements are completely consistent. They want to be on the side of closed societies, and they emphatically don’t want to create a secure society.

      Again. Look into those eyes. “The fear must flow.

  1. Or maybe the United States sees the free flow of information as destabilizing to aggressive authoritarian world powers and would like to see competing powers fall apart in exactly the way it would not like to fall apart itself.
    Liberate your enemy’s subjects and further subjugate your own subjects; it’s foolproof.

  2. i think it is the essence of being a democratic state.

    that’s why, across a continuum of multiple presidential election, a democratic state’s foreign policy can look schizophrenic, when compared with that of other authoritarian states.

  3. I’m sure she believes the U.S. has the most open, uncensored, and unmonitored internet in the world.

  4. All whilst trying to extradite a British citizen for using the internet in a way they don’t like, whilst claiming jurisdiction over any .com or .net websites.

    The flagrant and cynical hypocrisy is getting a bit blunt now isn’t it?

  5. Mrs Clinton, it’s not just governments that can open or close internets, it’s also corporations whose campaign contributions you’ve taken.

  6. Everybody’s so cynical here.

    Actually, this is not news: Clinton has been promoting the idea of Internet freedom since January 2010.  I for one commend her for this position, which is one I happen to agree with.  It may be worth reminding ourselves that as Secretary of State, she is responsible for formulating foreign policy only and has no control over US domestic policy.

    So can we really say it’s “particularly galling that Secretary Clinton made these remarks even as the US Congress is poised to pass CISPA,” or rather is her position a refreshing public counterpoint to this bill? It’s a little unfair to blame her for what Congress is doing when she’s been out of that body for over three years. (Although admittedly I am not familiar with her voting record on this issue in the Senate – perhaps it is not good. Then again, if it’s bad, maybe she’s seen the light since then.)

    Sometimes I wonder what things would have been like if Clinton had won the Democratic nomination in 2008 and the Presidency.

    1. The same Clinton who said, in January of 2011: “But our assessment is that the Egyptian Government is stable and is looking for ways to respond to the legitimate needs and interests of the Egyptian people.”

    2. “she is responsible for formulating foreign policy”

      Perhaps you missed the part where the US is using free trade agreements to strong arm nations all over the world to adopt the sorts of policies you claim she is counter-pointing.

  7. It’s a good sentiment. I hope there are actual plans to shore up policies promoting an open internet in the face of American corporate interests who are bullying countries into removing individual freedoms for their peoples around the world, but I’m not holding my breath.

  8. “It’s particularly galling that Secretary Clinton made these remarks even as the US Congress is poised to pass CISPA, which establishes a national US regime of censorship and warrantless surveillance.”

    I don’t think it is galling. It is obvious to me that we are heading for a police state and the SoS is  telling us just that. Deep down inside those asshats in Washington know that they are dismantling everything that made this country something special, but they would rather piss away our freedoms setting up their retirement plans of working cushy jobs for homeland security and DoD contractors.

  9. She’s right, it will be split. But the USA is among the leaders at trying to create a closed internet and pushing forward internet censorship around the world.

    I’m not sure if she’s aware of this, just uniformed, an idiot, or just a huge hypocrite.

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