Washington, D.C. /eNewsChannels/ — Today the State Department convened a high-level meeting of the NetFreedom Task Force with 19 telecommunications, internet technology (IT), and Internet-based companies. The meeting was co-chaired by Under Secretaries Robert Hormats and Maria Otero and brought together a wide range of network services firms to discuss the challenges and core responsibilities of advancing Internet freedom.

Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton announced the reinvigoration of the Global Internet Freedom Task Force in her Four Freedoms speech in September 2009. The newly renamed NetFreedom Task Force builds on the efforts of the existing task force to coordinate policy within the State Department on this important issue. In her Internet freedom speech on January 21, Secretary Clinton announced that a high-level private sector meeting would be held under the auspices of the task force. The NetFreedom Task Force works to increase access to uncensored content over the Internet and other connection technologies, in addition to monitoring and responding to threats to Internet freedom as they arise.

“We had a robust exchange of ideas and information with private industry stakeholders,” said Under Secretary Hormats. “We all share the commitment to encourage freedom of expression and the free flow of information and we believe these companies should be mindful of their important roles in global Internet freedom.”

“We are working together towards the common goal of ensuring that individuals in all countries can peacefully exercise their universal right to freedom of expression, including over the Internet,” Under Secretary Otero said. “We look forward to further discussions with these dedicated partners to help counter the threats to Internet freedom throughout the world.”

The NetFreedom Task Force will convene a second external meeting this summer, including companies, non-governmental organizations, and academics to continue the dialogue on Internet freedom.

Tabitha Angel Berg is an aspiring author and musician and joined eNewsChannels in Nov. 2006 as an editor and mistress of the WP-based content management system (CMS). She likes ferrets better than cats and tea better than coffee, and is a devout iPad evangelist. Nobody pays her to like Dr. Pepper, but wouldn't you like to be a pepper, too?