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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Remarks at the Silicon Valley Human Rights Conference

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Mission Bay Conference Center
San Francisco, CA
October 3, 2011


Good afternoon everyone. I am delighted to speak directly to this community of talented and committed entrepreneurs, executives, engineers and activists. Technology has you know very well transformed our world and our assumptions about what is possible in the 21st century; and the discussion you are having now is more important than ever.

More than two billion people are on the Internet today, and in the next few years another billion will be connected. How the internet will shape their lives remains to be seen. Will the internet be a place where human rights are respected? Well that is still an open question.

On their own, new technologies do not take sides in the struggle for freedom and progress, but the United States does. We stand for a single internet where all people can express their views and have equal access to knowledge and ideas. This is where your work and mine overlap, and where smart businesses aligned with a strong commitment to human rights. So let’s harness the potential of your products to advance human dignity and freedom.

As technology evolves, you have the opportunity to respond to the needs of your growing customer base. You can help expand government accountability, strengthen social mobility, and broaden educational opportunities and personal freedoms for more people around the world.

So let’s recommit ourselves to this cause. Let us make these technologies a force for progress, a tool for building open, free, and transparent societies. Let’s make the internet a place where human rights are protected and defended by all of us. Thank you very much.

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