Sen. Durbin To Introduce Bill Sanctioning Companies That Don't Protect Human Rights Abroad; But What About At Home?

from the the-two-step-shuffle dept

Senator Dick Durbin is introducing legislation to sanction companies that don't take "reasonable steps" to protect the human rights of people abroad. This is obviously targeted at companies doing business in places like China, where famously, government officials have used US technologies as well as worked with US-based companies to censor the internet and spy on citizens.

While I can understand the reasoning behind such a bill, my question is why is this limited to abroad? Here in the US, AT&T eagerly helped the administration in spying on users with no warrant and no official process (even allowing private info to be passed on with just a post-it note request). And what about efforts by US lawmakers to put in place third party liability -- similar to that which is used in China to censor the internet -- on copyright issues? Shouldn't there be sanctions for that as well?

Sanctioning companies that help regimes violate human and civil rights is perfectly reasonable -- but Durbin is kidding himself if he thinks this sort of thing only happens outside of the US. Let's clean things up at home first.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    NAMELESS.ONE, Mar 3rd, 2010 @ 5:42pm

    HAHAHAHA

    ya know honestly i think the USa needs to take a serious step back and look at itself and how the rest of the world is beginning to see it.....as a fraking joke.

    YA know they really must think the world is a bunch a retards yet they do stuff like this which affirms my belief that evolution doesn't always work out for a species.

     

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  2.  
    identicon
    Pixelation, Mar 3rd, 2010 @ 6:32pm

    Picking his battle

    I am guessing he is picking his battle, one that might have a chance. It's a start.

     

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  3.  
    identicon
    Bigles, Mar 3rd, 2010 @ 7:25pm

    > my question is why is this limited to abroad?

    I see you are still under the illusion that anyone in any law making capacity in your country actually cares about regular people. That train left the station a long time ago, and ain't comin' back. In fact, once the Republicans get back into power, look for it to get even worse (as if that even seems possible).

    You guys are on the decline, and the sad thing, is you voted for all this. Sad.

     

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  4.  
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    fogbugzd (profile), Mar 3rd, 2010 @ 7:32pm

    ERA Memories

    This reminds me of back in the '70's when people were trying to get the Equal Rights Amendment ratified. Someone in the legislature proposed a bill that would have prohibited travel to any state that had not ratified the ERA. Another Senator felt this was entirely too limiting, and proposed an amendment that would prohibit travel to any COUNTRY that had not ratified the ERA. Of course, since the ERA was an amendment to the US constitution, no other country would have any reason to ratify it. To add to the idiocy, the original law was proposed because the US itself had not ratified the ERA.

    As a budget cutting measure it would have been great because it would have shut down all junkets to anywhere.

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 3rd, 2010 @ 7:38pm

    dumbest post ever?

    This might be the dumbest post i've ever read on this site. I generally find this site highly informative, but every now and then something like this shows up and makes me wonder whether I'm reading the Onion. Are you really comparing human rights abuses to proposals for secondary liability? Lolz

     

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  6.  
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    Any Mouse, Mar 3rd, 2010 @ 8:20pm

    Re: HAHAHAHA

    That's US politicians, asshat. Besides, what makes you think your country's politicians are any better? Feeling all high and mighty over there? Like your stereotypical US citizen?

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 3rd, 2010 @ 9:35pm

    Re: dumbest post ever?

    Did you even bother reading the linked article? Either way, you're an absolute idiot. Here's the first paragraph for you, enjoy:

    "Internet companies that fail to take "reasonable steps" to safeguard human rights in foreign countries could face sanctions under a forthcoming bill by Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (Ill.)."

    Yes, God forbid that Mike dare to compare international internet policies with domestic internet policies. Shame on him.

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 3rd, 2010 @ 9:51pm

    But, but, but...

    That's different!

     

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  9.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Mar 3rd, 2010 @ 10:04pm

    Re: dumbest post ever?

    Are you really comparing human rights abuses to proposals for secondary liability? Lolz

    Secondary liability is how China stifles civil rights online. Are you claiming otherwise? Because that would be news...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
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    RT Cunningham (profile), Mar 4th, 2010 @ 12:21am

    Sanctioning Who?

    I'm a US citizen living abroad in a country where human rights seem to be violated daily, but human rights is like everything else. It's in the eye of the beholder.

    US politicians like to try telling other countries how to behave, even though the the other countries' behavior is perfectly acceptable by their own standards.

    Once again, Mike nails it on the head - clean up you own back yard before you try to clean up someone else's.

     

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  11.  
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    Ben, Mar 4th, 2010 @ 12:32am

    Re:

    So says Bigles the Fool, prophet and arbiter of all that is of the United States.

     

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  12.  
    identicon
    Ben, Mar 4th, 2010 @ 12:38am

    Unfortunately, "reasonable steps" can be interpreted in so many different ways. IOW, this is useless, grandstanding legislation. It won't go anywhere and he can claim to have "taken a stand" for human rights.

     

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  13.  
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    BraveAnonymousPerson, Mar 4th, 2010 @ 1:06am

    Fix things at home first?

    Hell no. Fix things wherever possible. Approve this bill now, extend later to the homeland.

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 4th, 2010 @ 5:13am

    There really is no point to this legislation. They might as well ban domestic companies from doing any business abroad.

     

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  15.  
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    Beta, Mar 4th, 2010 @ 5:50am

    oldthinkers unnewspeak

    The headline really caught my eye, until I realized that "sanction" meant "not sanction".

     

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  16.  
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    nasch (profile), Mar 4th, 2010 @ 9:03am

    Re: oldthinkers unnewspeak

    "Sanction" is its own antonym.

    –verb (used with object)
    6.
    to authorize, approve, or allow: an expression now sanctioned by educated usage.
    7.
    to ratify or confirm: to sanction a law.
    8.
    to impose a sanction on; penalize, esp. by way of discipline.

     

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  17.  
    identicon
    Beta, Mar 4th, 2010 @ 10:43am

    Re: oldthinkers unnewspeak

    The original meaning of the noun was either permission or punishment (I admit I just learned about the punishment part). The noun was verbed in the 18th century to mean permission, blessing. Then in the twentieth century, when certain nations were trying to find forms of agression milder and more selective than blockades, they started witholding sanction for various things. So "sanctions" became associated with harsh international imposition, and with just a little carelessness we got this mess, where the only way to keep the opposite meanings straight is by tiny cues: "sanctions" (plural noun) are punishments, "sanction" (uncountable noun) is permission or blessing, "a sanction" is ambiguous, "sanction" (verb) means permit or bless, and using it to mean "impose sanctions" throws grammar fiends like me into fits.

     

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  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 4th, 2010 @ 3:16pm

    In a nutshell: USA has double standards.

    In other news: Sun rises in the east.

    *yawn*

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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