September 18, 2014

CNAS Policy Brief: Reenergizing the Internet Freedom Agenda in a Post-Snowden Era

Washington, September 18, 2014 -- Center for a New American Security (CNAS) President Richard Fontaine has written a new policy brief, Bringing Liberty Online: Reenergizing the Internet Freedom Agenda in a Post-Snowden Era, which offers a path forward for getting America’s Internet freedom agenda back on track. In the brief, Fontaine argues that, despite the many complications arising from the Snowden disclosures, America still needs a comprehensive Internet freedom strategy.
The full report is available here:
Mr. Fontaine lays out how revelations of mass surveillance by the U.S. government have over the past year transformed the global debate about Internet freedom. Where once Washington routinely chided foreign governments and their corporate collaborators for engaging in online censorship, monitoring and other forms of Internet repression, the tables have turned. In this new, post-Snowden era, America’s Internet freedom agenda – the effort to preserve and extend the free flow of information online – hangs in the balance.
In the brief, Mr. Fontaine argues the U.S. should work to tilt the balance in favor of those who would use the Internet to advance tolerance and free expression, and away from those who would employ it for repression or violence.
In order to reenergize this effort, Mr. Fontaine’s recommends that the United States:

  • Call on foreign governments to embrace surveillance principles.
  • Ensure that U.S. government agencies conduct comprehensive cost/benefit analyses of surveillance decisions.
  • Enhance the transparency of U.S. government data requests and seek greater corporate transparency.
  • Articulate the connection between Internet freedom and economic prosperity.
  • Employ trade agreements and public diplomacy to further the Internet freedom agenda.

Mr. Fontaine is available for interviews on the policy brief. To arrange an interview, please contact Neal Urwitz at or call 202-457-9409.