USD 25 mn for Internet freedom in the Middle East
Washington: US this year anticipated USD 25 million towards internet freedom programming efforts in the Middle East and spent USD 76 million from 2008 to 2011.
"Through these programmes, we provide training and tools to civil society activists, in the Middle East and throughout the world, to enable them to freely and safely exercise their freedoms of expression, association, and assembly on the Internet and via other communication technologies," the State Department said.
"Across the Middle East, we have seen that access to technological tools enables people to tell their story to the world when they are otherwise silenced by repressive governments," the State Department said, adding its internet freedom programming is aimed at making sure that voices for peaceful democratic reform in the region can be heard.
Noting that countering increasingly active internet surveillance and censorship efforts aimed at suppressing individuals` exercise of their human rights requires a diverse portfolio of tools and training, the State Department said it grants support more advanced technologies, including in Farsi and Arabic.
Tools that have received support from the State Department help provide unfettered internet access for hundreds of thousands of individuals in the Middle East.
"We also support the development of mobile security software to provide safer ways for activists in repressive societies to communicate, and technologies to enable them to post their own content online and protect against cyber attacks," the State Department said.
"Recently, State Department grantees have come to the aid of dozens of individuals and organisations in the region that have been victims of hacking or have had their accounts compromised.
State has also supported the efforts of organisations that have trained over 7,500 activists worldwide, including many from the Middle East, in cyber-self-defense," it said.
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