A senior U.S. official says China and Russia have been buying powerful surveillance technologies in a bid to “control” Internet communications.
Alec Ross, the U.S. secretary of state’s senior adviser for innovation, said “many Middle Eastern countries, Russia, China, and others” have been taking an “increasingly aggressive stand to try to control the Internet.”
He said China, Russia, and other states had spent billions of dollars to purchase surveillance technology, and there were few legal restrictions to prevent authorities from using the technology to monitor their populations.
He said purchases by regimes accelerated after the popular protests in Iran after the Islamic republic’s disputed 2009 presidential elections.
He defended the U.S. refusal to sign a new global telecoms treaty last December, saying America opposes efforts to restrict the Internet.