FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski made a very personal plea
for the new freedom to connect principle added last week by Secretary of State
Hillary Clinton to the traditional four freedoms (freedom of expression,
freedom of worship, freedom from want, freedom from fear).
The venue was Auschwitz,
the Nazi concentration camp where his great-grandmother was murdered. The
chairman, who led the U.S.
delegation honoring the 65th anniversary of the camp's liberation, referred to
his father, an engineer who fled the Nazi's as a child, as his teacher about
the power of technology to "transform lives for the better."
"We know that the Nazis sought to shut off from the
rest of the world the unspeakable killing that went on here," he said in
his address. "We know that for the Nazis control of the flow of
information was an imperative, an SS boot on the free flow of news.
"Let us fight so that technology is deployed to spread
knowledge, to educate, to ensure that people in all corners of the world know
of death-camp victims, survivors, and liberators," he said. "Let us
fight so that technology is used to shine a light on oppression and
intolerance, to illuminate persecution and dehumanization, to take oppression
and mass murder out of the shadows. Let us fight for freedom. For fundamental
freedoms disregarded too often and tragically in the 20th century, fundamental
freedoms that, as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has urged, we must
enshrine as core principles in the 21st century -- freedom of expression,
freedom of worship, freedom from want, freedom from fear, and freedom to connect."
In her speech last week staking out Internet freedom as both
a domestic and foreign policy objective and a natural outgrowth of the freedom
of expression, Clinton
defined that freedom to connect as "the idea that governments should
not prevent people from connecting to the internet, to websites, or to each
That is essentially what the chairman is advocating in
proposing to expand and codify network neutrality principles.