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U.S. Cyberspace Policy


A Chinese man uses the computer at an internet cafe in Beijing Friday. The Internet opens new horizons, but also opens the way for new abuses. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

In its newly released International Strategy for Cyberspace, the United States outlines how to ensure that the internet remains open and free.

In its newly released International Strategy for Cyberspace, the United States outlines how to ensure that the internet remains open and free. The goal is to work internationally to promote an open, interoperable, secure and reliable information and communications infrastructure that supports trade and commerce, strengthens international security, and fosters free expression and innovation.

The object of the cyberspace strategy is to maximize the capacity of the internet to accelerate human progress while sharpening America's tools to deal with the threats. As U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said, "while the internet offers new ways for people to exercise their political rights, it also, as we have seen very clearly in the last months, gives governments new tools for clamping down on dissent. And while the internet creates new economic opportunities for people at every point on the development spectrum, it also gives criminals new openings to steal personal data and intellectual property. And while the internet makes it possible for governments and people to collaborate more closely across borders, it presents new terrain for conflict, when states or other actors deliberately disrupt networks or when terrorists use the internet to organize attacks."

The U.S. has identified several key internet policy priorities. They include economic engagement to promote innovation while safeguarding intellectual property; cyber security to protect networks and international security; law enforcement to improve the response to cyber-crime; military cooperation to help U.S. alliances do more together to confront cyber threats; and of course, internet freedom.

To coordinate these efforts, the U.S. State Department has created the Office of the Coordinator for Cyber Issues under the leadership of Chris Painter, a longtime expert in the field. The United States, said Secretary Clinton, is committed to ensuring that the internet remains open, secure, and free, not only for the two billion people who are now online, but for the billions more who will be online in the years ahead.

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