US State Dept: Don't Censor The Internet! Unless We Order You To, As We Did In Spain...

from the sing-a-song-of-hypocrisy dept

We've discussed how the State Department, and Hillary Clinton in particular, have been spending a lot of time talking up the importance of internet freedom, and speaking out against countries that censor the internet. That even resulted in Joe Biden's unintentionally hilarious explanation of why internet censorship is horrible... while he supports internet censorship at home.

It seems like there's a real disconnect in our government, however, when the censorship is couched in the word "copyright." We just wrote about how Spain adopted its SOPA-like law this week, despite widespread public outrage. We had noted that the US State Department was a major force behind the bill, and (no surprise) more news has leaked that there was more of the same behind this new decision to adopt the Sinde Law. It's been leaked that, just last month, State Department officials threatened the Spanish government that if it didn't pass the law, there would be repercussions. This was a letter from US ambassador Alan Solomont to the outgoing Spanish government, sent December 12th, in which he talked about "promises" made to the US government:
"The government has unfortunately failed to finish the job for political reasons, to the detriment of the reputation and economy of Spain... The government of Spain made commitments to the rights owners and to the US government. Spain can not afford to see their credibility questioned on this issue."
Stunning. Because, in actuality, the commitment the Spanish government has is to its own citizens -- who are very much against the bill. The only thing that raises questions about Spain's "credibility" is caving to US diplomatic pressure to censor the internet.

Meanwhile, if we want to talk "credibility," the US State Department is increasingly losing its credibility on this issue. How can any diplomat, with a straight face, go public talking about internet freedom and being against censorship, when the State Department demanded Spain pass a law that allows for censoring the internet?

Filed Under: alan solomont, censorship, free speech, hypocrisy, internet freedom, sinde, spain, state department


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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Jan 2012 @ 8:12pm

    Spain was also the country where more than 90% of its citizens was opposed to joining the war in Iraq, yet the Spanish govt sedn troops anyway.

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