US likely to authorize millions for extension of ‘Internet freedom stategy’

Cyrus Farivar | Featured, Iran
4 Nov 2011

Remember that whole “Internet Freedom” agenda that the US government is funding? Turns out it’s likely to continue into the next fiscal year.

The U.S. Senate’s 2012 “State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill” made it out of committee in September.

It has a view key provisions pertaining to Internet freedom:

Of the funds appropriated under the heading ‘Economic Support Fund’, up to $25,000,000 shall be made available to the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor for programs to promote human rights by expanding open and uncensored access to information and communication through the Internet, mobile phones, and other connection technologies including digital safety training, policy and advocacy, and the development of circumvention and secure communication technologies, as identified in the Department of State’s Internet freedom strategy: Provided, That funds made available by this section should be matched by sources other than the United States Government, as appropriate: Provided further, That the Secretary of State shall coordinate the uses of circumvention and secure communications technologies with the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Broadcasting Board of Governors, as appropriate: Provided further, That the circumvention technologies and programs supported by funds made available by this Act, Public Law 111-117 or Public Law 112-10 shall undergo a peer review, to include an assessment of the protection against such technologies being used for illicit purposes, including to further the communications capabilities of extremist groups or their supporters: Provided further, That prior to the obligation of funds, the Secretary of State shall submit to the Committees on Appropriations a report detailing planned expenditures of funds made available for activities to promote Internet freedom: Provided further, That not later than September 30, 2012, the Secretary of State, in coordination with the USAID Administrator, shall submit a report to the Committees on Appropriations listing programs supported by the Department of State and USAID to promote Internet freedom, including an assessment of the results of such programs, and detailing how such programs further, and are coordinated with cyber diplomacy and the United States International Strategy for Cyberspace.

and

For necessary expenses to enable the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), as authorized, to carry out international communication activities, and to make and supervise grants for radio and television broadcasting to the Middle East, $740,039,000: Provided, That of the total amount in this heading, not less than $2,500,000 shall be used to expand unrestricted access to information on the Internet through the development and use of circumvention and secure communication technologies: Provided further, That the BBG shall coordinate the use of such technologies with the Secretary of State and the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development, as appropriate: Provided further, That the circumvention technologies and programs supported by funds made available by this Act or Public Law 112-10 shall undergo a peer review, to include an assessment of protections against such technologies being used for illicit purposes such as furthering the communications capabilities of extremist groups or their supporters: Provided further, That prior to obligation, the BBG shall submit to the Committees on Appropriations a report detailing planned expenditures for funds made available for such activities: Provided further, That not later than September 30, 2012, the BBG shall submit a report to the Committees on Appropriations listing programs supported by the BBG to promote unrestricted access to information through the Internet, including an assessment of the results of such programs:

So here’s a question. All you Internet freedom-loving countries, do you have anything similar in the works?

[Hat tip: Collin David Anderson]

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