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Robert Holleyman

Robert Holleyman

Posted: January 21, 2010 04:55 PM

Strong Leadership: Clinton Focuses on the Promise of Internet Freedom, Prosperity and Security

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Secretary Clinton showed impressive leadership today in her speech on Internet Freedom. She provided a strong vision for the promise and possibilities of the Internet -- and also examined some of the threats. The Secretary focused on freedom of information as a basic underpinning of the Internet, and rightfully so. The Iron Curtain is a very appropriate metaphor. It serves as a powerful historical lesson for those who restrict access in the name of government, religion, or ideology -- and reminds us that we cannot allow an Information Curtain.

When allowed to flourish, the Internet has the capacity to help deliver both technological and economic progress globally, through new innovations, state-of-the-art research and powerful, new ideas.

You don't have to look far to witness the power of information technology in expanding markets and opportunity around the world -- or connecting people at times of crisis and need. The Secretary cited moving examples of the role technology is playing in the aftermath of the earthquake in Haiti. Over $25 million has been donated to relief efforts by the American people, via text message. And, information technology has already saved lives on the ground. After some telecom services were restored to the earthquake-ravaged island, a little girl and two women, still trapped in the rubble, used a phone to text message for help and were rescued.

Secretary Clinton recognizes that this promise, though, cannot be fulfilled without global cooperation -- and a global commitment to -- cybersecurity. Without secure networks, our personal data, commercial transactions, the sharing of information and the protection of intellectual property are all threatened.

The Obama administration has clearly prioritized the issue of Internet safety and security, as demonstrated by the appointment of Howard Schmidt as the first ever White House Cybersecurity Coordinator. U.S. partnership with nations around the world is vital as well, as is demonstrated by our participation in the Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime, a crucial vehicle for promoting global cybersecurity.

Today's speech envisions a reinvigorated Internet that will deliver freedom, prosperity and security. The Business Software Alliance and our members look forward to helping the US and all governments deliver on that promise.