Clinton: Internet Freedom a 'Foreign Policy Priority'

At George Washington University Tuesday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton used a major policy speech to announce support for Internet freedom across the world. The diplomatic agency will provide $25 million to help promote online activism worldwide, she said. Clinton cited freedoms and cyberfreedoms, such as "expression, assembly and association" in the speech.

"The United States supports this freedom for people everywhere," Clinton said, "And we have called on other nations to do the same."

Citing American "commitment to protecting civil liberties and human rights," Clinton praised the Internet as a foundation for free expression, calling it the world's "town square, classroom, marketplace, coffee house and nightclub." In addition to the funding, Clinton said the State Department will continue daily work monitoring Internet freedom worldwide, and will launch Twitter feeds in Chinese, Russian and Hindi. The department started an Arabic twitter feed earlier this month and already has Spanish, French and Farsi feeds.

Clinton's remarks come as Internet- and social media-based protests and revolutions are generating global attention. The recent protests in Egypt, as well as the 2009 Iranian elections, have been cited as key points in the evolution of the Internet and social media. Clinton noted that in Egypt, the attempt by the former government of outsted dictator Hosni Mubarak to shut down the country's international Internet connections was ultimately unsuccessful in silencing the protesters.