Even though bloggers in the US and Canada still have problems being accepted as legitimate news outlets we at least don’t have to deal with repressive regimes that have no problem jailing, or worse, those that they deem dangerous to the state – at least not yet anyway.
However for bloggers in countries controlled by dictators or repressive governments there is always the constant fear of ending up in jail for life or dead. It is these bloggers that the European Union feels need help and tools to be able to communicate freely and avoid detection.
Neelie Kroes, European Commissioner for Digital Agenda, said at a recent conference that digital dissidents need tools that are simple and ready to use and that she wanted the EU to help develop and distribute such tools.
Ironically U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke at the same conference where she called upon companies to not sell surveillance tools to repressive regimes, this of course in light of the United State’s own moves to institute their own surveillance and monitoring measures on Americans using the Web.
This point was made by Dutch member of parliament Marietje Schhaake who echoed Clinton’s call but at the same time knocked the US for its recent moves
Schaake also slammed the U.S. for its proposed “Stop Online Piracy Act,” which would require U.S. telecommunications companies to block access to foreign-based websites that infringe U.S. copyrights.
This will “give great incentives to governments like China to do the same,” she said, blocking political speech they don’t approve and arguing that their censorship practices are no different than those in the West.