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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on January 22nd, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

nbsp;www.theglobeandmail.com/news/tech…

U.S. Secretary of State Clinton urges China to probe Google case.
U.S. Secretary of State calls for consequences and condemnation of those who carry out cyberattacks.

Robert Burns, Washington — The Associated Press, Published on Thursday, Jan. 21, 2010 in Globe and Mail of Canada.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Thursday urged China to investigate cyber intrusions that led Google Inc. GOOG-Q to threaten to pull out of that country – and challenged Beijing to openly publish its findings.

“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,” she said, adding that the U.S. and China “have different views on this issue, and we intend to address those differences candidly and consistently.”

She cited China as among a number of countries where there has been “a spike in threats to the free flow of information” over the past year. She also named Tunisia, Uzbekistan, Egypt and Vietnam.

Ms. Clinton made her remarks in a wide-ranging speech about Internet freedom and its place in U.S. foreign policy.

“Some countries have erected electronic barriers that prevent their people from accessing portions of the world’s networks,” she said.

“They have expunged words, names and phrases from search engine results,” Ms. Clinton said. “They have violated the privacy of citizens who engage in nonviolent political speech.”

State Department officials have said they intend soon to lodge a formal complaint with Chinese officials over the Google matter, which a senior Chinese government official said Thursday should not affect U.S.-China relations.

Vice-Foreign Minister He Yafei said in Beijing, “The Google case should not be linked with relations between the two governments and countries; otherwise, it’s an over-interpretation,” according to the official Xinhua News Agency. The Xinhua report did not mention censorship, instead referring to Google’s “disagreements with government policies.”

In a passage of her speech before she explicitly mentioned the Google matter, Ms. Clinton spoke broadly about the connection between information freedom and international business.

“Countries that censor news and information must recognize that, from an economic standpoint, there is no distinction between censoring political speech and commercial speech,” she said. “If businesses in your nation are denied access to either type of information, it will inevitably reduce growth.”

“Increasingly, U.S. companies are making the issue of information freedom a greater consideration in their business decisions,” she added. “I hope that their competitors and foreign governments will pay close attention to this trend.”

She then raised the Google case.

“We look to Chinese authorities to conduct a thorough review of the cyber intrusions that led Google to make its announcement,” she said, referring to Google’s recent statement that it is reconsidering its business operations in China. “We also look for that investigation and its results to be transparent.”

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Further – Ms. Clinton wants to see INTERNET FREEDOM AS A PLANK OF AMERICAN FOREIGN POLICY – she says that an attack on one Nation’s computer network should be seen, what it really is, an attack on all!

Censorship should not be accepted by any company, and American companies must take a principled stand she further said.

The US will place a “demarche” with China – a diplomatic move of protest showing its displeasure with the way China treated Google. The US is not ready to accept that this is a mere business squabble. We follow this logic and think the US should also express its displeasure the way certain well placed UN Department of Public Information officials use their positions to intefere with the dissemination of news at the UN. One outside the UN New York Times investigative reporter had looked into this three years ago, but her worldwide distributed article had no impact on the UN, neither did we see the US making a “demarche” to Mr. Ban Ki-moon. Could the State Department under the Hillary Clinton baton have a look there too?

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