BEIJING—In a speech yesterday at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave a hard-hitting speech in defense of a free and unfettered Internet. The timing couldn’t be better, with Google pressing the Chinese  government to permit it to run an uncensored search engine in China. Here are a few choice excerpts of Clinton’s speech :
[T]echnologies with the potential to open up access to government and promote transparency can also be hijacked by governments to crush dissent and deny human rights.
On their own, new technologies do not take sides in the struggle for freedom and progress, but the United States does. We stand for a single internet where all of humanity has equal access to knowledge and ideas.
Some countries have erected electronic barriers that prevent their people from accessing portions of the world’s networks. They’ve expunged words, names, and phrases from search engine results. They have violated the privacy of citizens who engage in non-violent political speech. These actions contravene the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, which tells us that all people have the right “to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.” With the spread of these restrictive practices, a new information curtain is descending across much of the world.
The internet has already been a source of tremendous progress in China, and it is fabulous. There are so many people in China now online. But countries that restrict free access to information or violate the basic rights of internet users risk walling themselves off from the progress of the next century. Now, the United States and China have different views on this issue, and we intend to address those differences candidly and consistently in the context of our positive, cooperative, and comprehensive relationship.