The U.S. exports Internet freedom to other countries
A negative reaction from governments indicates special programs that promote Internet freedom are effective. Eric Nelson, director of the State Department office of eDiplomacy, explained at a conference on mobile technology and diplomacy that the U.S. government tries to promote Internet freedom overseas, reported RIA.
"In general, Internet freedom is a very important priority for American foreign policy," said Nelson.
The State Department put a Tech Camp program into action a few years ago that met with government opposition.
"We did one a few years back in Ukraine… [It] created a good bit of opposition from governments that felt threatened. So if certain elements of the government felt threatened, we may be doing something right by promoting freedom to do that," Nelson added.
Educating society on how to promote change
Tech Camps sponsored by the U.S. State Department intend to educate civil society on technologies that build social networks and facilitate new ways to communicate. In response to several countries' concerns about addressing threats such as the one posed by the Islamic State, Nelson advised that Internet freedom should be used to promote change, around the world, especially with regards to democracy.
In Kiev, Ukraine, Tech Camps were held to train social activists. With the help of U.S. embassies, the State Department holds similar workshops in other states that happen to be at the center of revolutions or mass social movements, according to RIA.
Some international experts believe, however, that such efforts only serve to complicate domestic affairs in other countries and help lead to revolutions.
Jacqueline Miller, president and chief executive of the World Affairs Council, argued that Internet freedom is an important issue because it is at risk.
"Now the phase of Internet is changing. The global Internet that we all use and rely on could fragment into multiple national Internets," said Miller, according to The Daily UW.
Almost three decades have passed since the modern Internet was introduced into the public sphere. It has been changing people's and societies' ways of expressing, sharing and using information.
Many parts of the world experience Internet censorship
Ben Blink, a senior policy analyst at Google, said many regions of the world continue to censor and filter the Internet. According to Blink, approximately 2.7 billion people are connected to the Internet. Countries like China, Pakistan, Iran and Turkey are responsible for censoring over 30 percent of the world's total Internet population, noted The Daily UW.
"[The] Universal Declaration of Human Rights says that everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression. … If you care about human rights, this [censorship] strictly is an issue you should care about," Blink said.
While the majority of the Western world enjoys Internet access that is protected by the freedom of speech and is without censorship, many parts of the world do not and that is what Tech Camps and diplomats aim to address.