Clinton's Internet guru to visit Russia: official

24th October 2011, Comments 0 comments

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's digital media adviser will travel to Moscow this week to address Russia's concerns about the Internet's use in diplomacy, a US official said on Monday.

Alec Ross, the State Department's senior adviser on innovation, will pay a brief visit to Moscow at the end of the week for talks with Russian officials, a US embassy spokeswoman said.

The visit comes in apparent response to growing Russian unease at the US use of "digital diplomacy" -- a policy that promotes open Internet access in authoritarian states and that is tied closely to the Arab Spring revolts.

The New York Times said the State Department has recently focused on providing instant messaging and antifiltering services that could help opposition groups in Iran talk to each other without state restriction.

Russia now suspects the United States of secretly backing the creation of a shadow Internet that functions independently of official state regulators and could be used to stir discontent in former Soviet states.

The Kremlin has also backed UN measures that would bar nations' security agencies from using the Internet to trawl the information networks and steal or corrupt computer files in other states.

One Moscow proposal would see the United Nations ban attempts to "manipulate the information flows in other states for the purpose of distorting society's political and spiritual environment."

Russia's proposal, which never mentions Washington's digital diplomacy policy by name, argues that some powers try to use the Internet to "destabilise society and the state."

© 2011 AFP

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