US faces major Internet image problem, former gov't official says

NSA surveillance allegations have led to countries questioning the country's commitment to Internet freedom, a former Obama official says

By , IDG News Service |  Internet

But surveillance does make Internet users think twice about what opinions to express, said Rebecca MacKinnon, a senior research fellow at the New America Foundation and cofounder of Global Voices Online. She called on the U.S. government to embrace the human rights of all Internet users, whether or not they live in the U.S.

"The rights of all Google users, no matter where they live, have to be protected equally if Google is going to be a successful globally," she said. "Despite the fact that [McLaughlin's] former colleagues at the NSA may have been fairly scrupulous about protecting the civil liberties of U.S. persons, they had no mandate to give a fig about non-U.S. persons' rights to privacy or rights to anything else."

Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's email address is grant_gross@idg.com.

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