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U.S. developing alternates to Internet

June 12, 2011 at 7:43 AM

WASHINGTON, June 12 (UPI) -- The United States is developing alternate forms of communications to the Internet to circumvent censorship, The New York Times reported Sunday.

The Obama administration has authorized the State Department to spend $70 million by the end of the year on systems that would allow text and video to be shared electronically before it eventually reaches the Internet, the report said.

Various methods have already been created and more are being developed, some of which use cellphones and portable wireless hubs that can be carried in a suitcase.

Among others, the governments of China, Syria and Egypt have used censorship to shut down Web sites or the entire Internet to stop dissident activity, while in Afghanistan, militants freeze communications to hamper the government.

In an e-mail to the Times, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said as valuable as the Internet can be, alternate systems need to be developed to detour censorship.

"We see more and more people around the globe using the Internet, mobile phones and other technologies to make their voices heard as they protest against injustice and seek to realize their aspirations," Clinton wrote. "So we're focused on helping them do that, on helping them talk to each other, to their communities, to their governments and to the world."

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