#CyberFLASH: John Baird and Carl Bildt on protecting digital freedoms

B97375091Z.120141001155319000GS36SSNI.11For many of the three billion people around the world who use the Internet, it’s a place to connect with friends, tweet, read news and share ideas. For others, though, the Internet is much more: the last bastion of protest against repression and authoritarian regimes.

As an open forum for individuals, the Internet acts as a powerful tool for free expression and dialogue. For this to continue, the Internet must remain free, open and secure. In Western countries such as Canada and Sweden, this openness can sometimes be taken for granted. But we all bear some responsibility for protecting these digital freedoms, because there can be no doubt that, while we see openness as a virtue, others see it as a threat.

Countries such as Iran crack down on the sharing of ideas by attempting to create an impermeable national internet, where online expression is monitored, regulated and, ultimately, suffocated within their borders. In Russia, President Vladimir Putin has accelerated restrictions on the Internet.

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