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February 14, 2006

State Department Sets Up Online Speech Task Force

The State Department has set up a task force to help U.S. technology companies support free speech online in foreign countries.  This is in light of disclosures that Yahoo gave the Chinese government information that led to the jailing of two activists, that Microsoft censored the blog of a Chinese dissident, and that Google censored its .cn web portal, all at the behest of the Chinese government.  Cisco is mentioned from time to time as their routers help make it all happen.

Undersecretary of State Paula Dobriansky was quoted as saying "Many technology companies … want to work to help those who lack the freedom that we often take for granted.  If we band together, we can make significant progress on this issue."

More on this from Reuters via ABC News.  The State Department Task Force web page is here.

Perhaps some of the freedoms we take for granted include having our email scanned by a government security agency, matched up with personal data collected by third parties, and the demand for aggregate search data requested in an attempt to uphold a law courts have struck down on more than one occasion.  Perhaps we can teach the Chinese something about that.

February 14, 2006 | Permalink

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