| Sep 18 2012
Keep the Internet Free
By Senator Marco Rubio
September 18, 2012
The Internet’s impact around the globe is staggering. It has connected people and ideas in ways not previously imagined. Just last year, authoritarian rulers were overthrown in North Africa and the Middle East by popular uprisings. These events have been greatly aided by their people’s access to the Internet, which helped them share ideas, organize demonstrations and highlight repressive government actions in real time.
We need to protect fundamental Internet freedoms in the hope that greater connectivity will help bring greater prosperity to people around the world while helping the oppressed achieve what the Arab Spring achieved for the people in the Middle East and North Africa.
If we look just 90 miles from the shores of Florida, to the homeland of my parents and grandparents, we see what the tyrannical Castro brothers have done to all Cubans not just through dictatorship but with control of technology and the Internet. The average citizen is strictly prohibited from using Google, YouTube and blogs. Only the government elite and foreigners have access to the Internet in Cuba, as well as the few who might illegally access a limited piece of the Internet.
Or look to China, which recently announced plans to tighten government control over the Internet. The new rules require all users of microblogs like Twitter to register with their real names, and all forums, blogs and microblogs must meet government approval. The communist government is clearly concerned about the Internet’s power to connect and influence people. Rather than allowing the Chinese people to take advantage of new innovations and Internet services, the government has issued stricter rules to maintain more control and restrict freedom of information.
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