- The Washington Times - Friday, March 8, 2013

A top U.S. diplomat warned about a strengthening push from countries to control the Internet, but said not to worry, that Washington politicos weren’t seeking the same.

“Many Middle Eastern countries, Russia, China and others are, I believe, going to take an increasingly aggressive stand to try to control the Internet,” said Alec Ross, an outgoing State Department senior adviser on innovation, in an Agence France-Presse report.

But the United States wasn’t playing, he said.

Rather, the United States was aggressively working for the opposite result and had already spent $100 million in the last four years on programs to offset anti-freedom crackdowns from more dictatorial regimes, Mr. Ross said, AFP reported. The U.S. is fighting a significant battle, however.

Other countries have been spending “billions and billions of dollars” on surveillance technologies that suggest a restriction on Internet freedoms, he said. A lot of these buys came right after the election protests in Iran in 2009, Mr. Ross said.

He also pointed to the December 2012 U.N. meeting in Dubai where 89 countries joined on to a treaty for telecom regulations as an example of the growing global cry for Internet control.

“Anyone who understands power understands that power is not given up willingly,” Mr. Ross said, in the AFP report.