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Former FCC Official Analyzes Clinton's 'Bold' Net Freedom Speech Former FCC Official Analyzes Clinton's 'Bold' Net Freedom Speech

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Congress

Former FCC Official Analyzes Clinton's 'Bold' Net Freedom Speech

February 15, 2011

Former Federal Communications Commission Chief Counsel Bruce Gottlieb (now National Journal's general counsel) discussed in National Journal Tuesday Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's speech on Internet freedom. Part of his commentary appears below:

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has delivered a bold and -- given the context -- important speech Tuesday about freedom on the Web

It connects the dots between an open Internet, on the one hand, and political liberty, economic prosperity, and the crisis in Egypt and the Middle East, on the other.

Her major premise is that political liberty begets economic prosperity. Her minor premise is that, in the 21st century, protecting Internet openness is essential to maintaining a free society -- and thus is crucial to achieving economic well-being, as well.

For decades, the major premise was up for debate. The dilemma was posed most sharply by the (apparent) flourishing of the Soviet Empire. Was freedom a luxury we could not afford? (Just ask Senator McCarthy.) Even after the Wall fell, there was still great hand-wringing over the rise of Asian city-states like Singapore, which married eye-popping export growth with canings for spitting gum on the street. To read more, click here.

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