Good freedom, bad freedom

There's good freedom and then there's bad freedom...

Good freedom, bad freedom: Irony of cybersecurity

Until recently, Peter van Buren served as a Foreign Service officer at the State Department. He says he was fired over the book and the blog that he wrote about the failure of US policies in Iraq.

“The State Department since 2008 has spent $76 million overseas on Internet freedom, giving tools and support to bloggers and journalists and online people around the world, particularly in countries that we have difficulties with,” he said. “At the same time, the State Department… has found Internet freedom to be inconvenient in the form of WikiLeaks, and has worked just as hard and probably spent even more money trying to shut down free speech that it opposes, while supporting free speech that it feels furthers America’s own political goals overseas. We call that hypocrisy.”

“A lot of the tools of control that are used by the so-called repressive governments are provided by American companies,” Peter van Buren explains. “The difference is that corporations, for better or worse, talk about profit as their motivation. However, the American government talks about freedom and democracy as its motivation, when in fact in many ways it seems to act in the opposite direction.”

Some argue that if left uncontrolled, the export of surveillance and site-blocking tools by American companies could undermine Internet freedom in the same way as arms exports undermine peace initiatives. And as far as the US government efforts to secure Internet freedom go, they seem to discern two different kinds of freedom: the freedom they encourage and the freedom that they punish…

About jfl

A 66 year-old American male living in Chiangrai, Thailand
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