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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Internet and Academic Freedom in the Digital Age

Internet and Academic Freedom in the Digital Age « "Internet and Academic Freedom in the Digital Age" "During the talk, I stressed that there are two simultaneous phenomena occurring throughout the world. On the one hand, we see the enhanced use of technology to monitor, censor, and chill free expression, including through attempts to intimidate intellectuals and stifle independent thought via surveillance, threats, interrogations and detentions. According to the OpenNet Initiative, for example, 960 million Internet users still live in countries that impose worrisome restrictions on content — that’s 47 percent of all Internet users. On the other hand, we are also seeing incredible progress and intellectual ferment produced by the interdisciplinary cooperation between scientists, academics, human rights workers, diplomats, NGOs and businesses. Organizations like AAAS, for example, are using scientific advancements to document the destruction of villages in Darfur. Others, like the U.S. Institute of Peace, have an entire center devoted to science, technology and peacebuilding. All of these efforts are rooted in principles articulated in the U.S. Constitution and subsequently incorporated into the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Protecting the right of freedom of expression is not merely an international obligation of states; it is also essential to the unfettered thinking that produces scientific advancement in the first place. The U.S. government has therefore made it a foreign policy priority to protect the Internet as a platform for, inter alia, scientific discourse. As I described in a recent editorial for Science magazine, we launched a coalition of like-minded countries to protect global Internet freedom. In addition, we have in place many programs to expand infrastructure investment and lower the cost of access for many people worldwide. . . . "

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