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Kerry: Internet access a 'fundamental right'

By MATTHEW LEE

AP Diplomatic Writer WASHINGTON (AP) - Secretary of State John Kerry says people around the world have a fundamental right to the Internet. He is denouncing authoritarian governments that place restrictions on web access and social media.

Speaking from Washington to an online freedom forum in Estonia, Kerry said Monday that open and unrestricted communication helps make governments accountable. He said autocratic rulers therefore see a free, open and inclusive Internet as a threat to their power. Kerry said restrictions imposed by authoritarian leaders allow them to fragment their societies and cloud the truth.

On the other hand, Kerry said the U.S. and other democracies must continue to push for Internet freedom to give people a voice.

Kerry also stressed the importance of protecting Internet privacy and noted recent changes to U.S. intelligence-gathering.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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