U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged companies and governments to protect Internet freedom on Thursday. Speaking at a conference in the Netherlands on Internet freedom, Clinton said it was “an urgent task” to preserve civil liberties online and argued that corporations can protect their own reputations by thinking twice before doing business with repressive governments.
The kick off for the Freedom Online conference took place at the Fokker Terminal in The Hague. In his welcome speech, executive chairman for Google, Eric Schmidt, stated the purpose for the conference: “The world is a better place with freedom of speech.”
The conference was then officially opened by minister Rosenthal, who emphasised the struggle we are facing in this modern world: freedom of speech is as important online as it is offline. Rosenthal highlighted the importance for governments to ensure online freedom. According to minister Rosenthal, the purpose of the conference is to form a coalition of states which will warrant human rights online. He concluded by stating that the internet is “a public space par excellence; we should honour it and protect it.”
In her keynote speech, Sos Hillary Clinton called internet freedom one of the defining issues of our time: “It is our global responsibility to secure human rights in cyberspace.”
SoS Hillary Clinton also stated that the action we take today is important for the future of internet freedom, and that it is an ongoing effort. Hillary Clinton: “Of all journalist imprisoned globally at this time, more than half are online journalists. The threat is very real. An open internet is and will be in everyone’s interest, especially for the next generation of internet users. Let’s lay the groundwork for open internet tonight.”