The technology created by UltraReach and its affiliate, Freegate, works as it is intended: it allows internet users in China, Iran, and other countries where the internet is heavily regulated to breach firewalls and surf the web at will. In fact, millions more internet users under dictatorships worldwide could benefit from UltraReach’s software, but at least $30 million in funding is required. That money actually does exist in the form of $50 million in earmarks in the State Department’s budget. Despite rhetoric supporting freedom of the internet, the money sits unused while the “strategy” for its usage is honed. Diehl suggests that the hesitation to act is partially due to a fear of offending China. Regardless, the State Department has a poor record when it comes to promoting freedom of the internet.
Diehl is deputy editorial page editor of The Post.