Hillary Clinton supports an Open Internet
On Tuesday, Hillary Clinton voiced her support of an "Open Internet." She commented that users should be able to make their own choices online, with regards to services as well as expression. She also argued that companies and governments need to be responsible and encourage free communication in an ethical manner.
"Ethics are as important as electronics. Corporate responsibility is highly prized. That's a model not just for this industry, but the world," Clinton said, according to Business Insider.
Clinton is one of the original cosponsors of the Internet Freedom Preservation Act, a law that protects net neutrality. She delivered the keynote speech at Dreamforce 2014 and discussed net neutrality with founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, Professor Klaus Shwab, reported Tech Radar.
Internet freedom protected by Bill of Rights
In her speech, Clinton argued that efforts to control the Internet, shut it down or manipulate user behavior, interfere with free speech rights that are outlined in the Bill of Rights. During her tenure at the US Department of State, she noted, the department allocated significant financial resources toward defending free speech rights. She also indicated that this is both a domestic and international issue. In light of recent news revealing the extent to which governments censor and persecute Internet users, Clinton's comments carried gravitas.
"I will tell all of you here this is an ongoing struggle with more oppressive regimes worldwide who want more control over the Internet, shut it down and interfere with people's freedoms," Clinton said, according to Tech Radar.
Clinton also showed her approval of President Obama's current position on net neutrality. She mentioned many issues that need to be addressed with regards to the Internet such as affordability, levels of access and proficiency gaps between users. The key to solving the issues, she said, is to keep the Internet open.
"This is a very rich area for a lot of work, and partnership between the private and public sector is the only way to go forward on it," Clinton said, reported Business Insider. "It's going to be an on-going debate, and I hope our side wins."
First amendment free speech rights, as Clinton mentioned, call for an Internet free from control, censorship and interference. The freedom of expression allows for the discussion of issues in an open forum, without persecution. The Internet should continue to be that open forum.