The United States considers the promotion of an open and secure Internet to be a critical component of its foreign policy.
“America believes,” said U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in a speech at University of Korea, “that the Internet should be open and accessible to everyone.
We believe it should be interoperable, so it can connect seamlessly across international borders. We believe people are entitled to the same rights of free expression online as they possess offline.”
But many governments will use any excuse to silence their critics and impose filters that eliminate broad categories of what their citizens can receive and transmit. What’s more, these governments are quick to export their repressive technologies and methods to others, thereby further undermining individual rights. Many of these governments are also using the Internet to track down activists and journalists who write something that they don’t like.
There is a clear separation in the world between governments that want the Internet to serve their citizens and those who seek to restrict access to the Internet in order to control their citizens.
Governments should not fear free speech. “Banning the Internet in a misguided attempt to impose order,” said Secretary Kerry, “will never succeed in quashing the universal desire for freedom.”
Just as we promote freedom online, the United States is working to prevent international conflict in cyberspace. “The basic rules of international law apply in cyberspace,” said Secretary Kerry. “Acts of aggression are not permissible.”
The U.S. is supporting a set of principles that will contribute to a more stable cyberspace. If the principles are implemented by countries, “we would be living in a far safer and far more confident cyberworld,” said Secretary Kerry.
“Throughout the global community,” said Secretary Kerry, “we need to come together around principles that will establish a solid foundation for our freedoms – principles that will protect the rights of individuals, the privacy of our citizenry, and the security of our nations – all at the same time.”