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US Congress introduces draft law to limit Internet firms' cooperation with censorship - initially targets operations in China, Iran, Vietnam

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16 February 2006

Proposed 'online freedom act' may hurt US and US-listed China firms

Author: AFX News

A bill to be introduced to the US Congress, which aims to prevent internet companies from facilitating censorship overseas, may not only limit US companies' ability do business in China, but may also deter Chinese companies from tapping US equity markets, analysts and industry players said... The regulations would...apply to companies that are listed on US [stock] exchanges... That could extend laws covering some of China's top internet companies, including Baidu.com, Hong Kong's Tom Online Inc and Sohu.com Inc. [also refers to Yahoo, Alibaba.com, Bokee]

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16 February 2006

Proposed law targets tech-China cooperation [USA]

Author: Declan McCullagh, with Anne Broache, CNet News.com [USA]

Nearly every U.S. company with a Web site located in China will have to move it elsewhere or its executives would face prison terms of up to a year, according to proposed legislation expected to be introduced this week in the U.S. Congress... [The] proposal puts American businesses at a severe competitive disadvantage with China-based firms, which are immune from such rules and can locate servers in China and offer much faster response times for Internet users in that country. [refers to Google, Yahoo, Cisco, Microsoft]

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15 February 2006

Global Online Freedom Act of 2006 [USA]

Author: Rebecca MacKinnon, fellow at Harvard Law School's Berkman Center for Internet and Society, on her weblog, RConversation

Rep. Chris Smith has just announced that the Global Online Freedom Act of 2006 will be introduced tomorrow. [The] most interesting bits...: ...Companies must provide the OGIF [Office of Global Internet Freedom, a new US Govt. agency] with block lists given to them by internet-restricting governments... U.S. businesses can’t block US-government supported websites and content... “Any person aggrieved by a violation of this section” can sue a U.S. company in U.S. court... [refers to Shi Tao case, involving Yahoo]

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14 February 2006

[PDF] [Discussion Draft] - A Bill - To promote freedom of expression on the Internet, to protect United States businesses from coercion to participate in repression by authoritarian foreign governments, and for other purposes

Author: [Bill introduced by Congressman Chris Smith of New Jersey]

Freedom of speech and freedom of the press are fundamental human rights, and free use of the Internet is protected in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which guarantees freedom to "receive and impart information and ideas through any media regardless of frontiers"...Political censorship of the Internet degrades the quality of that service and ultimately threatens the integrity and viability of the industry itself, both in the United States and abroad.

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