Home opinion-and-analysis Whiskey Tango Foxtrot Ex Swedish PM: "Tear down these walls against Internet freedom"

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In 1987, at the Brandenburg Gate, US President Ronald Regan uttered those now famous words, "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!"  In response to Secretary Clinton's recent speech on Internet freedoms, ex-Swedish PM Carl Bildt has modernised that demand.

It took just 29 months for Regan's demand to become a reality.  Now, 23 years since those words, US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton makes very strong assertions about the importance of Internet freedoms and Ex Prime Minister Bildt clarifies and strengthens the argument, making a direct comparison with Regan's words.

Bildt writes, "Two decades ago a wall made of concrete, built to divide the free and unfree, was torn down. Today it is the freedom of cyberspace that is under threat from regimes as keen as dictatorships past to control and limit the possibilities of their citizens. They are trying to build firewalls against freedom.

"At the end of the day, I am convinced they are fighting a losing battle - that cyber walls are as certain to fall as the walls of concrete once did."

Clinton's comments very clearly set the scene for this fight when she said, "Both the American people and nations that censor the Internet should understand that our government is committed to helping promote Internet freedom."

Bildt adds, "Much like the way the rule of the law is critical to protecting the freedoms we enjoy as citizens in our societies, and international law protects the peace between our nations, we must seek to shape the rules that will protect the rights and the freedom of cyberspace."

In her speech, Clinton made it very clear that the United States would strongly oppose any country that chose to censor the Internet.

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David Heath

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David Heath has over 25 years experience in the IT industry, specializing particularly in customer support, security and computer networking. Heath has worked previously as head of IT for The Television Shopping Network, as the network and desktop manager for Armstrong Jones (a major funds management organization) and has consulted into various Australian federal government agencies (including the Department of Immigration and the Australian Bureau of Criminal Intelligence). He has also served on various state, national and international committees for Novell Users International; he was also the organising chairman for the 1994 Novell Users' Conference in Brisbane. Heath is currently employed as an Instructional Designer, building technical training courses for industrial process control systems.

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