Biden calls for protecting individual rights in the 'town square or on a Twitter stream'


 British Prime Minister David Cameron reportedly considered blocking access to social networks such as Facebook and Twitter to curb rioting in his country over the summer.

In his remarks at the conference, Cameron said the goal is to strike a balance between "freedom and a free-for-all" online.

Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonThe Memo: Trump furor stokes fears of unrest Bloomberg rolls out M ad buy to boost Biden in Florida Hillicon Valley: Productivity, fatigue, cybersecurity emerge as top concerns amid pandemic | Facebook critics launch alternative oversight board | Google to temporarily bar election ads after polls close MORE was scheduled to speak at the conference, but she cancelled due to the death of her mother. Biden spoke via a video teleconference.

Biden said the Internet poses new challenges for international relations. It is more difficult to judge a county's cyberwarfare capabilities than it is to count its tanks, for example. 

But he said countries must work together to address cyberthreats. The U.S. is working to reach an agreement with Russia that would expand communications between computer security teams and nuclear response centers in the event of a nuclear incident, Biden said.

He said the U.S. is investing more in cybersecurity and in fighting transnational crime by helping other countries build up their law enforcement capabilities.

Biden warned against any radical changes to the management of the World Wide Web. 

"We have an expression in our country:  If it ain’t broke, don't fix it," he said. "It would be misguided, in our view, to break with the system that has worked so well for so long."

But he added that he agreed with suggestions from Prime Minister Cameron to bring more transparency and accountability to the public and private organizations that manage the Web.