[ORLANDO] – On Friday, June 25 Rep. Val Demings (FL-10) and House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee Chairman William R. Keating (MA-09) announced new legislation to support internet freedom technology. This initiative will help people in authoritarian regimes to circumvent censorship, communicate safely with their loved ones, share information, support protesters, and succeed in the struggle for freedom.
Said Rep. Demings and Chairman Keating, “The internet is a critical tool for families and democratic movements across the globe. Specifically as they work to survive and to resist under authoritarian regimes. Our new legislation will provide surge capacity funding for internet freedom technology. In addition, empowering democratic movements and resisting rising global authoritarianism. Across the globe from Cuba to Belarus, authoritarian leaders have restricted internet access. Especially during elections or protests, and we must empower ordinary people to resist.
“The technology funded under this initiative allows users cost-free access to social media. In addition to other messaging services, even during government-controlled internet blackouts. This is a concrete response against censorship technology which is being sold by Russia and the Chinese Communist Party to other autocrats. From Cuba to Venezuela, Belarus to Russia, this initiative will support ordinary people in their struggle for freedom.”
Demings Committee Involvement
Rep. Demings is a former 27-year police officer and former Chief of the Orlando Police Department and serves on the House Intelligence Committee and Homeland Security Committee. She chairs the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response, and Recovery. Rep. Keating is the Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Europe, Energy, the Environment and Cyber.
Rep. Demings previously identified up to $2.5 million per year in unallocated appropriation for “surges” to internet freedom programs, and called on the Biden Administration to immediately implement grants to fund internet access programs in Cuba. Florida Politics: “Democratic Rep. Val Demings on Friday called for President Joe Biden to help push internet access into Cuba. In addition, Demings, of Orlando, is putting money on the table.”
This legislation follows on that effort, allocating new funding to create a broader, flexible, nimble, and effective program.
Support freedom and family communication in Cuba
Since the Cuban protests began, Rep. Demings has praised the Biden Administration’s new sanctions on Cuban officials, called for the Biden Administration to move swiftly to stand with the peaceful demonstrators in Cuba, joined Members of Congress in a Cuba hearing where Chairman Sires called for President Biden to use the Global Magnitsky Act, and met with multiple Cuban groups in Florida.