U.S. Warns of Gov’ts Trying to Control the Internet

On April 8, 2011, Yahoo! News reported, in an article by Bradley Klapper of the Associated Press, that the Obama Administration, specifically the State Department, warned "that governments around the world are extending their repression to the Internet, seeking to cut off their citizen's access to websites and other means of communication to stave off the types of revolutions that have wracked the Middle East."

The State Department's annual human rights report, now at 7,000 pages, states that countries are "'spending more time, money and attention in efforts to curtail access to these new communications outlets.'"  Indeed, according to the report, more than 40 countries "are now blocking their citizen's access to the Internet, and [the various technologies employed] are all 'designed to repress speech and infringe on the personal privacy of those who use these rapidly evolving technologies.'"

In presenting the report, Secretary of State Clinton singled out Myanmar and Cuba, stating that these two countries have policies designed to keep almost their entire populations off the Internet.  Additionally, the report criticizes Saudi Arabia, the U.S.' largest ally in the Middle East, for "spying on e-mail and chat rooms, and blocking sites about religions such as Hinduism, Judaism and Christianity."

In response to the recent unrest across the Middle East, many governments around the world are reassessing how open they want to be with their Internet policies.  Michael Posner, Assisant Secretary of State for Human Rights said that the U.S. has responded by "helping to finance circumvention technologies to avoid firewalls . . . [t]o deal with governments hacking computers or intimidating dissenters, the U.S. government has trained 5,000 people from around the world on how to leave less of a trace on the Internet."

 

 

The entire news article from Yahoo! News can be found at the link provided above, or here.  The State Department's 2010 Report on Human Rights is available here, broken down by country.     

 

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Authors

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Professor William Snyder

Professor William C. Snyderis a member of the faculty of the Institute for National Security and Counter-terrorism at Syracuse University after fifteen years with the United States Department of Justice.

Ryan D. White

Ryan D. WhiteRyan is currently a third year law student at Syracuse University College of Law, and is also pursuing a Master of Public Administration degree from Syracuse’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. Ryan spent time with Homeland Security Investigations while pursuing his undergraduate degree at Wesleyan University, and spent his first summer of law school as clerk for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Western District of New York. He is a member of Syracuse Law Review, the Journal on Terrorism and Security Analysis, and participates in the Veteran’s Legal Clinic. Full biography

Shelby E. Mann

Ryan D. WhiteShelby is a second year law student at the Syracuse University College of Law. During her final year at the University of Missouri, she served as a full-time news producer for ABC 17 News. Shelby spent her first summer of law school at the Shelby County District Attorney General's Office in Memphis, Tenn., in the Public Corruption and Economic Crimes Unit. She is a member of Syracuse Law Review, the Journal on Terrorism and Security Analysis, and the senior editor for the Syrian Accountability Project. Full biography

Christopher w. FolkChristopher W. Folk

is a 2017 graduate of SU College of Law. A non-traditional student, Christopher returned to academia after spending nearly twenty years in the high tech industry. Christopher served in the Marine Corps, graduated from Cornell University with a B.S. In Applied Economics and Business Management, attended Northeastern University’s High-Tech MBA Program and received a M.S. In Computer Information Systems. Christopher previously worked in Software Engineering. Christopher is currently serving his second term as Town Justice for the Town of Waterloo. Christopher externed with a Cybersecurity firm in the Washington, D.C. area between his first and second year at SU College of Law. Full biography

Anna Maria Castillo

is 2016 graduate of Syracuse College of Law. She also holds a Master of Arts in International Relations from Syracuse University's Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. She has interned at a London-based think-tank that specializes in transnational terrorism and global security and at the legal department of a defense contractor. She served as an executive editor in the Syracuse Law Review. Full biography

Jennifer A. CamilloJennifer A. Camillo

is a 2015 graduate of Syracuse College of Law and is a prosecutor. She has served as a law clerk in the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of New York and the Cayuga County District Attorney’s Office and as an extern in the Oneida County District Attorney’s Office. She was a member of the Syracuse National Trial Team and was awarded the Tiffany Cup by the New York Bar Association for her trial advocacy achievements.

Tara J. PistoreseTara J. Pistorese

holds Juris Doctor and Masters of Public Administration degrees from Syracuse University's Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs and its College of Law. She wrote for this blog when a student. She is now a member of the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General's Corps.

Benjamin Zaiser

is both a scholar and a Federal Agent of the Federal Criminal Police Office of Germany. (Opinions expressed here are his own and not any part of official duty.) Full biography

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