NDN Backgrounder: Internet Freedom

Last week, Google announced that they would no longer censor their search results in China.  On Thursday, Hillary Clinton will be delivering a major address on internet freedom. We at NDN have long been leaders in this conversation around how the internet and the global communications network can be a force for freedom. In 2007, in the introduction to A Laptop in Every Backpack, Simon Rosenberg and Alec Ross wrote:

We believe it should be a core priority of the United States to ensure that all the world’s people have access to this global network and have the tools to use it for their own life success. There is no way any longer to imagine free societies without the freedom of commerce, expression, and community, which this global network can bring. Bringing this network to all, keeping it free and open and helping people master its use must be one of the highest priorities of those in power in the coming years.

Since releasing that paper in 2007, we have written a great deal more on these subjects, and we have assembled below some of our best work on the subject. For future commentary, be sure to check Global Mobile, our blog about the power of connectivity and technology. Enjoy:

  • Question for the Week
    1/18/10: by Sam duPont
    Sam reflects on recent statements by President Obama that begin to lay out a liberal worldview, and asks whether we can continue business-as-usual with China, given recent events.
  • Are Free and Open Societies in Retreat?
    1/17/10: by Simon Rosenberg
    Simon responds to a recent essay in the Economist that sees global challenges to liberty, and observes that the great battles of the 21st century will be open vs. closed, rather than left vs. right.
  • Reflections on 21st Century Statecraft
    1/15/10: by Sam duPont
    One year into President Obama's first term, Sam duPont looks at "21st Century Statecraft," one of this administration's defining foreign policy initiatives so far, and identifies the actions that have comprised this initiative.
  • Should Access to Mobile Networks be a Universal Right?
    12/21/09: by Simon Rosenberg
    Looking at the Administration's recent commitment to protection of human rights in Iran, Simon asks whether—in an age when we use our mobile phones to do so much—we should consider access to our devices and networks a universal right.
  • Twitter, Iran, and More: Impressions from the Front Lines of the Global Media Revolution
    7/15/09: with Nico Pitney, Eric Jaye, and Theo Yedinsky
    In this discussion of the role of Twitter in politics and media, we hosted Nico Pitney, the Huffington Post reporter who brought the voices of Iranian protesters out into the open, and Eric Jaye and Theo Yedinsky of Gavin Newsom’s groundbreaking gubernatorial campaign in California.
    Video: Nico Pitney
    Video: Eric Jaye & Theo Yedinsky
    Video: Q&A
  • Alec Ross, Tom Kalil & Tim Wirth on the Power of Mobile
    6/26/09: with Alec Ross, Tom Kalil, and Sen. Tim Wirth

    NDN co-hosted the release of a new paper jointly published by the UN Foundation and the Vodaphone Foundation examining the potential for mobile technology to improve healthcare delivery in the developing world. Speaking at the event were Alec Ross, Tom Kalil, and former U.S. Senator Tim Wirth. Simon Rosenberg hosted the discussion.
    Transcript: Simon Rosenberg (intro)
    Video: Alec Ross
    Video: Tom Kalil
    Video: Senator Tim Wirth
    Video: Simon Rosenberg (interview)
  • Obama: No Realist He
    6/16/09: by Simon Rosenberg
    Simon argues that, given who President Obama is and what he represents, he does not have the option to become a foreign policy realist. Instead, he must become a chief global advocate of free and open societies.
  • Harnessing the Mobile Revolution
    10/8/08: By Tom Kalil

    Tom Kalil, now Deputy Policy Director of Science and Technology at the White House, authored a paper for the New Policy Institute analyzing the power of mobile to create economic growth, better public health, and stronger democracies in the developing world.
    PDF: Harnessing the Mobile Revolution
  • The Power of Mobile
    4/14/08: by Simon Rosenberg

    On the heels of stories about the potential of mobile technology to help fuel protests, Simon asks what power mobile phones can have to fight poverty, as well.
  • A Global Recession for Democracies?
    3/8/08: by Simon Rosenberg
    Despite a global optimism about the spread of democracy, Simon notes that it has faced challenges and setbacks in recent years.
  • A Laptop in Every Backpack
    05/01/07: By Alec Ross and Simon Rosenberg
    Alec Ross, now Senior Adviser on Innovation to Secretary of State Clinton, co-authored this paper with Simon, in which they argued that connectivity to the global information network is an essential part of life in the 21st century, and called for the deployment of netbooks to prepare our children for this new world.
    PDF: A Laptop in Every Backpack
    Video: Alec Ross