Recent reports by the Wall Street Journal, Foreign Policy in Focus and the OpenNet Initiative reveal that U.S. companies are selling Internet blocking technology to repressive regimes across North Africa and the Middle East. Some are also providing brutal dictators with surveillance technology to be used to hunt down people who protest using the Internet and cell phones.
Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin and Massachusetts Rep. Bill Keating have pledged to take this issue even further, calling for rules to stop U.S. companies from assisting despots in censoring online protests and tracking protesters.
Dear Senator Durbin and Representative Keating,
Thank you for speaking out against U.S companies that are selling Web censorship and spying technology to repressive regimes across the Middle East and North Africa. I am encouraged by your words and urge you to take the next step: introducing legislation to prevent the sale of U.S. technology to dictators who intend to use it to violate human rights.
Freedom of speech and assembly shouldn’t end at the American border, or whenever people go online. It’s time Washington took action against U.S. technology companies that are helping despotic regimes in their brutal crackdown against freedom movements.