Obama to 'fight hard' for Internet freedom

President Obama promised on Wednesday to "fight hard" to protect Internet freedom and said the Democratic Party will include the position in its 2012 platform.

The Republican Party included support for Internet freedom in its 2012 platform, which it released on Tuesday.


Obama made the comment while answering questions on social-media site reddit, which was one of the leading organizers against controversial online piracy legislation earlier this year.

Reddit, along with Wikipedia and thousands of other sites, blacked out in protest of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), which would have required search engines and other sites to delete links to foreign sites dedicated to copyright infringement. 

"Internet freedom is something I know you all care passionately about; I do too," Obama wrote.

"We will fight hard to make sure that the internet remains the open forum for everybody — from those who are expressing an idea to those to [sic] want to start a business. And although there will be occasional disagreements on the details of various legislative proposals, I won't stray from that principle — and it will be reflected in the platform," he wrote.

When SOPA was still under consideration, the White House released a statement expressing concerns about the bill and emphasizing its support for Internet freedom. But in the statement, the administration also called for tougher measures to crack down on foreign sites offering pirated material.

Congress pulled the legislation after the Web protests sparked a massive public outcry.

Supporting online freedom has become a popular rallying cry across the political spectrum, but the two parties have stark disagreements about particular policies. Democrats, for example, argue that net neutrality, which bars Internet providers from slowing down or blocking websites, is critical to ensuring the openness of the Internet. But many Republicans argue that mandating net neutrality amounts to regulation of the Internet and is a burden on businesses.