“Dictator’s dilemma” is a nice phrase, but Hillary Clinton’s offer to help internet freedom around the world has a hollow ring.
Clinton has promised $25m to help people evade government internet controls, on top of the $20m the State Department spent last year. Repressive governments will “have to choose between letting the walls fall or paying the price to keep them standing,” Clinton said.
That’s the dilemma – but the fact is it’s not just one for dictators.
As Clinton made her grand speech, the US government was in court trying to pry open Twitter accounts to identify those associated with Wikileaks. A secret grand jury has been convened to find grounds for a criminal case against Wikileaks’ Julian Assange (so far they have found none.)
Meanwhile, the US House of Representative has just voted to extend some domestic spy provisions of the Patriot Act, Wired reports. Tomorrow administration officials are expected to testify before a House subcommittee about the need to expand the wiretap laws to cover BlackBerry, Facebook and Skype.
Clinton’s Civil Society 2.0 plan, has some nice ideas (and it's intriguing that when first announced 15 months ago it focused on North Africa and the Middle East) but US still faces the same dilemmas as everyone else.