I'm looking forward to speaking later this month at a Princeton workshop on Internet security and freedom, and to hear Alec Ross, Hillary Clinton's senior advisor for innovation:
The internet is at once a means for great openness and great control — expression and exclusion. These forces have long been at work online, but have recently come to the fore in debates over the United States’ cyber security policy and its increased focus on “internet freedom.” The country now has a Cybersecurity “czar” that has presented a 12-part national initiative, and also has a Secretary of State that has forcefully stated the case for internet freedom. But what do these principles mean in practice?
Clay Shirky and Evgeny Morozov have a new instalment of their conversation on this subject, with Morozov concluding:
If the Iranians, the Chinese and the Russians get the impression that Silicon Valley are in bed with the State Department, that impression is likely to persist for quite some time, maybe forever (once again: try convincing foreigners that oil companies don't control Washington). Just like most foreign publics developed an impression — thanks to eight years of Bush — that promoting democracy necessarily entails regime change, they may soon develop similar impressions about "Internet freedom". So I think the diplomats just have to be very careful, and focus on ironing out these micro problems, instead of saying that, yes, we've developed this partnership with Twitter and everyone should know about it! It's the kind of "public diplomacy" that begs for being less "public".
I'll also be speaking at a conference on free speech and the Internet being organised at Oxford by Prof. Timothy Garton Ash in June: more on that as details are finalised.