I'm tired and stressed out as a result of the current situation that has gripped my country for the last 12 days and of discussing it with friends and strangers all over the globe. I'm tired of the news on TV in which I only see Armageddon, I'm tired of having to update my status when we have a connection so that friends and family know that I am still alive. What happens if I am no longer alive to update it?
However, I also clearly remember telling a friend of mine to mark my words that this date will be the last one in terms of local internet freedoms and will spark something big. She rolled her eyes and laughed at me dismissively.
The very next day You Tube was blocked. Though the disappearance of that website and a couple of others did not really bother me, the significance was immense, it meant that someone now was taking an interest in the Web and that felt uncomfortable in a way, just like having someone watch you undress through a keyhole.
I think it was on that particular day that I felt a foreboding on a number of aspects and my friend had to admit that my hunch was right.
What was it in Mrs Clinton's speech apart from the usual arrogant approach that made my body hair stand? I've picked up the most relevant passages and highlighted words I felt were key. See below:
"[...] The freedom to connect is like the freedom of assembly, only in cyberspace. It allows individuals to get online, come together, and hopefully cooperate. Once you’re on the internet, you don’t need to be a tycoon or a rock star to have a huge impact on society.[...]
On their own, new technologies do not take sides in the struggle for freedom and progress, but the United States does. We stand for a single internet where all of humanity has equal access to knowledge and ideas. And we recognize that the world’s information infrastructure will become what we and others make of it. Now, this challenge may be new, but our responsibility to help ensure the free exchange of ideas goes back to the birth of our republic. [...]
The United States is committed to devoting the diplomatic, economic, and technological resources necessary to advance these freedoms. We are a nation made up of immigrants from every country and every interest that spans the globe. Our foreign policy is premised on the idea that no country more than America stands to benefit when there is cooperation among peoples and states. And no country shoulders a heavier burden when conflict and misunderstanding drive nations apart. So we are well placed to seize the opportunities that come with interconnectivity. And as the birthplace for so many of these technologies, including the internet itself, we have a responsibility to see them used for good. To do that, we need to develop our capacity for what we call, at the State Department, 21st century statecraft. [...]
We are also supporting the development of new tools that enable citizens to exercise their rights of free expression by circumventing politically motivated censorship. We are providing funds to groups around the world to make sure that those tools get to the people who need them in local languages, and with the training they need to access the internet safely. The United States has been assisting in these efforts for some time, with a focus on implementing these programs as efficiently and effectively as possible. Both the American people and nations that censor the internet should understand that our government is committed to helping promote internet freedom. [...]
We want to put these tools in the hands of people who will use them to advance democracy and human rights, to fight climate change and epidemics, to build global support for President Obama’s goal of a world without nuclear weapons, to encourage sustainable economic development that lifts the people at the bottom up. [...]
That’s why today I’m announcing that over the next year, we will work with partners in industry, academia, and nongovernmental organizations to establish a standing effort that will harness the power of connection technologies and apply them to our diplomatic goals. By relying on mobile phones, mapping applications, and other new tools, we can empower citizens and leverage our traditional diplomacy. "