Originally published: January 14, 2010
Last updated: January 14, 2010 - 9:33pm
After Google announced that it may pull its operations out of China, a group of House members called on Congress Thursday to pass legislation that supporters say would give information technology companies like Google cover under U.S. law to allow them to resist efforts by foreign governments to censor their operations in those countries.
Rep Christopher Smith (R-NJ) says a bill he sponsored, the Global Online Freedom Act, would require the State Department to release an annual list of countries designated as "Internet-restricting countries," require U.S. firms to notify U.S. officials of requests from foreign governments to filter or censor information, and would prohibit U.S. Internet firms from jamming U.S.-government Web sites such as the Voice of America. In addition such firms would be required to store personally identifiable information outside of countries that impose Internet restrictions.
Rep Smith and the other U.S. lawmakers urged other information technology companies to join Google's example. They also called on the State Department to use funding Congress has appropriated to support Internet freedom around the world to fund efforts to defeat China's Internet firewall, which blocks information opposed by the government.
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