Law Proposed To Block Search Engines From Countries Who Dislike The Internet

from the good-luck-with-that dept

Well, this comes as no surprise. Following the public hearings today on the whole “China internet” issue, one politician is circulating legislation to keep search engines out of countries like China. The provisions are a bit odd. Basically, the US decides which countries are “internet restrictive” (so far, China, Iran and Vietnam are named). Then, US companies are not allowed to host search engines in those countries. If they host search engines elsewhere, they would be forbidden from altering the search results at the request of the restrictive governments (presumably meaning that if governments from other countries — say, the US, for example — requested results be altered, the search engines would be free to comply). Also, those search engines would be barred from turning over the details of any user within those countries, unless the US Department of Justice says it’s for a legitimate reason. This last point is obviously aimed at the accusations of Yahoo handing over the info of political dissidents — but it’s a bit hard to see how the US Department of Justice should have any say over the issue. The thing that still isn’t clear is why the government is involved at all. Yes, we’re disappointed that the search engines haven’t taken a stronger stand against things like censorship, explaining why it tends to do more harm than good. However, there’s no real reason why this is the US government’s business.

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Comments on “Law Proposed To Block Search Engines From Countries Who Dislike The Internet”

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Yehuda Berlinger (profile) says:

For the same reason they impose sanctions on count

If the US companies are aiding governments in their violations of human rights, it is reasonable … or at least consistant, for the US government to forbid US companies from dealing with those governments.

It would follow that all US businesses should be forbidden from dealing with China, but that would be consistant … or at least reasonable.


doubledoh says:

Re: Re: For the same reason they impose sanctions on c

HELLO, what about my privacy rights? Why is the US gov focused on what Google and China are doing? They need to focus on why Bush feels it’s legal to wiretap US citizens!

Exactly. And what about the privacy rights of Google and other businesses? Don’t they have a right to make their own decisions about what their company’s policies are without the fear of being sanctioned or investigated or subpoenaed by their very own government?

Companies are forced to succumb to market forces. If the market forces are strong enough to dictate that google must pull out of China rather than censor results or face serious boycotts from its users, then that is what will happen. We have to stop this absurd behavior of using the government to apply artificial forces to the marketplace to suit our hypocritical ideals. The only “committee” that should be allowed is the consumer committee…you know, the one that takes place every minute of every day where consumers try to make real decisions by voting with their dollars.

And allowing politicians to remove our buying choices is the same as allowing politicians to remove our right to vote.

fuzzmanmatt (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re: New Justices

Here’s hoping that this crap will find it’s way to the Supreme Court. I’d like to see how the new Justices would handle this kind of constitutional violation. I don’t give a shit if congress wants to talk about it, but they can’t do it. The US isn’t nearly as strong as it once was in the international field, and with trying to pull shit like this, it’s no wonder so many people want us gone. We’re the old people trying to force our old ways of doing stuff on the new generation of freedom. The old ways were good, sure, but that doesn’t mean we need to hold onto them and prevent new ideas from proliferating.

Ted Smith (user link) says:

Re: For the same reason they impose sanctions on c

The Web: Free speech — for Chinese admen
CHICAGO, Feb. 15 (UPI) — Commercial speech on the Internet — marketing and advertising — does not seem to be subject to the same strict censorship standards that political speech is in China, and today, most surprisingly for Westerners, exists in a relatively free state of expression, experts tell United Press International’s The Web.

Concerns were raised in the U.S. Congress Tuesday about censorship fetters being placed by the Chinese Communist government on U.S. Internet service providers like America Online and search-engine providers like Yahoo! and Google. By Gene Koprowski

doubledoh says:

Re: No Subject Given

This kind of government interferance is exactly why Europe and other ocutries wanted to put the internet under the control of an interntional UN body.

This entire sentence is an oxymoron. “Under the control of an international UN body” IS government interferance. Not just government interferance, but governmentS interferance. No thanks. Europe isn’t exactly a haven for free, uncensored speech itself, and most Europeon countries are the busybody mistresses of the UN. Again, no thanks.

The article’s author was correct: NO government, including the US, has any right to interfere in ANY way with the internet or internet businesses.

I’ll never understand why people are so EAGER and willing to allow politicians to determine what we can and can’t do!

Dr John (user link) says:

Re: No Subject Given

You are out to lunch! These two aspects, how an American company runs its business, and “turning” control of the internet over to Europe, have nothing whatsoever to do with each other. Even if the technical support of the internet, such as issuing IP addresses, was internationalized, American companies would still be free to do as they please. You are mixing apples and oranges…

Hedwig says:

Please don't generalise...

I mean, if you (the US) want to have laws for restricting what companies IN THE US can and can’t do, please go ahead. Just don’t expect the rest of the ‘free world’ (last I checked that was not just the USA) to accept your meddling.

You can’t seriously expect that for example a French or German company would have to get approval from the US Legal Dept before they do business with a country that the USA deems ‘non democratic’.

IMHO that would give us a nice paradox, since the time is long gone that I believe the US to be democratic.

(let the flames start)

Edward says:

Re: Please don't generalise...

I?m sad, embarrassed, and quite a bit cheesed off, but I must agree with you Hedwig. The US is without a doubt, has been getting more and more, shall we say “Red”, during the last 2 terms.
During this period, there have been more enacted laws, proposed laws, modified laws that increase Government control, while decreasing the public?s allowable privacy, and civil rights, than in the past 200 years combined… 10 fold! Even Senator ?Mr. Un-American Activities? McCarthy, and J. Edgar Hoover, are rolling over!
This Administration has been responsible for more than a few cases of ?who needs a Judge?s approval, I?m a ?War President? excuses to justify blatant violations of privacy, civil rights, personal freedoms, of not only US Citizens, but several other nations and peoples, and I don?t think they?re done! But we [The US] do it because we care, right? We do it in the name of Freedom and Democracy?? I only wish.
Uhhh, OK? Condi wants $75 Million for ?Democracy in Iran?? But I can?t buy Migraine medication from Canada? The bummer is she?ll get it. Meanwhile, less than 10 % of the debris from Katrina is still sitting where it landed 6 months ago, in one of the largest port cities in the country?
In the past 200 years combined, 10 fold, there hasn?t been this much Government imposed, sponsored, restrictions of public freedoms. And then to boot, where they don’t have one that fits what they need, they claim “Homeland Security”, and do want they want anyway. I’ll mention just a few:
? Wire tapping US citizens
? The Treasonous ?outing? of a CIA operative
? The Travesty of Information Sell Out:
? User?s Search Data Release to the Government by several Search Engines
? Only Google protected our privacy. [Thank You Google, I’ll buy your stock!!]
? Canadian pharmaceuticals
? Carnivore Program
? Eminent Domain change from ?Public Need?, to ?Highest Income of Taxable Profit?
? Intelligent Design
? DNS/Internet Mandate of “It’s mine, all mine”
? The Ban on Lap Dances in Los Angeles, OK, not a Federal Law, but WRONG none the less!
? Recall of Military Veterans, to avoid the PR nightmare of a Draft by a Draft Dodger
…and my personal favorite
? “The {Anything But) Patriot Act”
Most of which, was all so we [The US, could, in violation of the U.N, as well as global government?s opinions] invade a sovereign nation. A nation that:
? Had nothing to do with 9/11
? Had no ?Weapons of Mass Destruction?
? Posed no threat to ?US National Security?!
? Did have a lot of oil & an oil embargo imposed by the UN
? Did have a Tyrant in power, that the US installed to ?help? with the ?Iran Situation? of the early 80?s
? Was [thought to be] an easy target to assimilate. Those who fail to know their history are doomed to repeat it. Has anyone in this Administration read a history book?
Well Golly, this list goes on, and on… and then on again
But, not to worry, Bin-Laden is in custody, right?
? The US has arrested, & prosecuted those involved in 9/11, right?
? The security of the nation has never been better, right?
? The Federal Government is ready and capable of handling and repelling a ?hurricane sized? attack in a quick and efficient manner with little or no impact to the general public.
? The Fed can be relied upon and is expected to be expeditious in operations to repair any damages to infrastructure and public safety, right?
? They need to restrict our freedoms and impose on other nations in order to have achieved all that they have, right?
? The US also can rely upon our many allies around the world, should we be in need of their assistance, right?
Wake Up America[ns]!! We are the #1 economy, but very soon we are going to wake up at #4. [Europe-500+Million, India-500+ Million, China [the Sleeping Giant is waking up]-1.5 Billion, US-280 Million]
Yes, I agree with you, whole heartedly Hedwig, it is anything but “Democratic” ’round here…
It?s Hippocratic!

Please excuse the slightly off topic rant, I could not get off the soapbox!

Me says:

Re: Re: Please don't generalise...

Edward, liked most of your points, hated The US, could, in violation of the U.N, as well as global government?s opinions . The US did not violate anything in invading Iraq. The UN failed to act for 10 years while Saddam played with wis subjects lives. There were multiple sanctions and resolutions against Iraq, but not a single one of them failed to dissuade Saddam from playing nice with the world. Lets not bother mentioning that Saddam was paying off much of the “oversight” that was supposed to be provided by the UN. And now even more scandles will rock the UN with thier missapprpriations of Humanitarian Aid.

electricmayhem says:

Re: Re: Re: Interference

Sorry guys, but goodness are you all so naive??you have fallen into the trap of ?debating the issues? and not looking at the overall picture?..

And then Doubledoh asks ‘why are people so eager to allow politicians to determine what we can and can?t do’??

WAKE UP YOU MORONS??Our servants have now become our masters and unless we do something pretty damn quick we will be unable to counter this insidious threat?.

Look around you and consider EVERYTHING!!! And then tell me if there is ANY part of YOUR life that isn?t determined by someone elses political whim??Thought so?..

Freedom of choice…..sorry buddy… chance!!

Oh yes?? Let?s argue and debate the rights and wrongs of issues and come to a conclusion?..IDIOTS?.that?s just what they want you to do?..look at the psychology my friends?..set up an issue and put it out for discussion with some ?spin?. Get everyone dealing with the minutiae and soon they will forget the basic premise and pass legislation ‘safe’ in the knowledge that they have done the right thing?? BINGO?.it doesn?t matter what legislation has been passed, the fact is it HAS BEEN PASSED and once that has happened, we?re doomed and on the slippery path?..

Bureaucrats and administrators love nothing more than this?.it gives them POWER, DOMINION??AND CONTROL

The more legislation that?s passed the more power they have?.the British government passes more legislation in one year than there are seconds in a day?.all supposedly for our good?..give me a break??

Moses started this trend when he popped up with the Ten Commandments. There are only three of the ten that have any merit?.thou shall not kill, thou shall not steal, and thou shall not bear false witness (lie)?..the rest are rules to RESTRICT.

There is only one overall rule?. Do right by your fellow man??simple, straight forward, no margin for error, no room for argument??

Simple really?.

malhombre says:

Re: Re: Please don't generalise...

The New World Order is upon us, only it is simply a glossy re-packaging of the old guard: big global business, endless materialistic propaganda, suppression of free speech, scrutinization of citizen’s lives to the extent that the status quo is best served.

The government doesn’t really care about you copying music for free. They don’t care about DRM. What they care about is having the capability of absolute control of all forms of communication and media, on a global, not just national scale. The RIAA, for instance, is simply a convenient bed partner for furthering that impetus. Don’t believe it? Your next phone call may just be monitored, friend. Watch what you say.

The 60’s saw the advent of the “Drug War”, which is designed to keep you from straying from the path designated by the gov’t – drugs were the plaything of a student body in violent protest against the military-industrial complex and their futile and deadly war machine in S.E. Asia. The 60’s weren’t nearly as groovy as we like to think (dead Kennedys. dead MLK. Cold Wars. Kent State. Watts. Chicago seven and the riots outside the DNC…)

The next “war” will be the “Information War”, as big G and big Business fight tooth and nail to retain control of the population and the almighty dollar in the name of the children’s safety…

We are headed into a new kind of intellectual and politically stifled hell, with a paranoid gov’t that wants world corporate domination and considers dissenting opinion to be an act of terrorism. Call me a radical, fool, whatever. It is fucking happening all around us, just keep your head in the sand and pretend it isn’t…

bt garner (user link) says:

Double Standards

If the US is so against letting “search engines” do customized busness in China, then why does China still have “Favored Trade Nation” status in the US?
And as others have pointed out, if you forbid US companies from working in China, all you are doing is opening the doors for other countrys’ companies to fill the void. Then 5 years from now, when they have all the incomine from the business in China, who will be playing catch up then? Then the US Governemtn will complain that “We are not keeping up with the Europeans” (or similar).
More great short sided thinking.

debris says:

well then

i see it like this. Google is liscense in the usa therefore the american people have a say about what this company does here and abroad. If they dont like it they can leave. Since google has bl with us then we have a right to overview what they do here in other countries and even make laws about it. Countries treat us like there on little piggy banks. And just like mom and dad would give you money but they wanted to know what you were speding it on and if it was something they didnt approve of then they would take it back or make you change. If the Countries over there dont like peforming for money (we might make a deal, you send all your 8+ women we will not have time to bomb or argue with you!!) or following usa baSED laws for usa soil countries then dont ask for usa country services. All morals and fundemanetals of life are NON-NEGOTIABLE-that means when you read our products page that is what we offer and nothing else.

Edward says:

Re: well then

Does this also apply to companies like, let’s say Halliburton? Chevron, Unocal, and the rest of the Standard Oil anti-trust spin offs? How about Wal-Mart? Let’s take it a step further, shall we?

What if I make a right turn on red in Rome, which is legal in Italy, but not here is the US? What then? Do I get a ticket for NOT violating a law in the country where the NON-violation took place, simply because it’s a violation here?

Simply put, if Congress has a problem with China, then maybe, just maybe they should start with the PACs [Political Action Committees, or as I like to refer to them, LBOC “Legal Bribery of Elected Officials?. Shouldn?t they be held to the same standards and be disallowed from accepting any funding of any kind from China and her corporations? Or, is this whole production simply a ?Do as I say, not as I do? grandstand?

How about this? Instead of all these hearings, Congress may want to reach down, and see if they have a pair, and institute ?real? sanctions against China, assuming they really do feel as strong as they purport? Not likely with out current trade volume with China.

Or does any one believe that Mr. and Mrs. Idaho want to give up low prices at Wal-Mart? [Personally, I think it would be a blessing to small business in America if they did.]

They only problem with this scenario is they both Houses and the Executive branch would also have to explain why they have taken so much money from the Chinese, through the PACs, and [gulp] give it back?? A politician, giving back hard earned ?donated? money? Yeah, I also have the Brooklyn Bridge for sale.

The US needs to tread carefully here, because as the ?Sleeping Giant? wakes, it will be China in the drivers seat, as the controlling global economy followed by India and the EU, and the US will be begging for scraps from their tables. It is then, that all of our global misgivings, will be back to kick us where it hurts most. But hey, we still have our Nukes, right?

I can?t get over how large and fragile the Glass House that the US has built around itself. We deserve our overseas reputation, as we live up to it, time and time again. We also deserve what coming. For this I am truly ashamed.

Chris H says:

No Subject Given

-My letter to this whack job, not that he’ll give a shit.

I’ve never taken the time to contact any of my representatives, however, I feel your proposed legislation “Global Online Freedom Act of 2006” is incredibly short sighted. It’s because of legislation like this (imposing our ideals on others) that the US is despised by so many other countries. Most communist countries, such as, China are becoming less and less restricitve everyday. Have you ever even visited during your “research”? My guess is no, since this issue has been a hot button for the last few weeks, meaning it would require you to hastenly throw something together to try and look like a hero. I know your anti-China since that’s the “safe” thing for politicians to be these days, but I think you need to look at the bigger picture.

It is incredibly easy for users to bypass the filtering that was put in place, should they decide to search on terms such as “Tieneman Square” or “Freedom”. Your legislation would completly remove this option from the Chinese people.. leaving them to go where for information? That’s right Mr. Smith they’ll turn towards their government and turn on the US. At least with search engines, such as, Google and Yahoo users in communist countries have a better option for acquiring information than through their government. It gives them somwhere and something to turn to. Take that away and and not only have you helped make the US look more like the World Police but you’ve helped the Chinese people take two steps back.

Anonymous Coward says:

No Subject Given

It’s disconcerting to know that my government is more concerned about the rights of the Chinese than they are about their own constituency.

By the way, if you leave to OUR Justice Department to decide what is unacceptable, the Chinese could be censoring, wiretapping, kidnapping, invading sovereign countries, and indefinitely detaining their own people and the Justice Departments reply would be “we do it, so can they”.

Ron says:


This is simply the natural course of events regarding ‘internet law’, something like this has never come up before.

Don’t blame Congress.. everything was just humming along peachy-keen until China decided to throw down the gauntlet and make a big stink about it, so a decision has to be made, one way or the other. The question boils down to: should we favor the dollar or an ideal? We can only pick one, as it must be sacrificed for the other.

Again, the article mentions it’s Rep. Chris Smith who’s leading the charge with this new “Global Online Freedom Act of 2006”. So far it sounds like a reasonable law to promote and encourage freedom of speech and expression. Unless, of course, that’s simply not your thing and you enjoy oppression.

the unknown says:

25% is not nothing

I gotta give it to you Mousty, you hit the nail on the head. China holds 25% of US government bonds. It certainly affects decision-making today as it will in the future.
As for Edward, ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch… nice/embarassing list, hurts the eyes, but their you have it.
Electricmayhem, apart from the coarse language, if i understood correctly, i mostly agree.
In summary, give the populace something to squabble about and governments can do as they please. Confusion is the best way to secure domination. Propaganda and disinformation work very well in face of a population that is, to a large extent, bread into ignorance. In addition, Machiavelli states that a common enemy helps secure unity within a nation. I won’t linger on 911, but looking at the tragedy, all these points apply to a degree that it is frightenning.
The future will demonstrate what the leit-motif behind this squabble is. In appearance it is governmental control over informational resources on the internet. Yet maybe, for the moment, they’re making us look the other way, but away from what? That’s the million dollar question.

the unknown says:

Re: Re: 25% is not nothing

No need for apologies electricmayhem, but thanks on behalf of everyone. I am sure we all appreciate.

As for frustration, it is safe to say we all are frustrated mostly by the fact that we feel helpless in the face of what is happening around. Unluckily the best solution might be to stick to the side-lines and watch it all go to hell. Hale Satan and his speech impaired mignons!

Maybe it isn’t all that bad anyways and the media is hyping it up so that we seek safety and shelter in our consumer goods. Apart from certain valuable exceptions, to the medias i say “screw you guys you bunch of cock-brained self-serving manipulative lyars, what have you done that is honorable and good lately?”

And to Google I say, “don’t let them fool you, or even re-arrange you”. If need be, move to an offshore rig, create an independent nation, and screw all governments equally. Who wants a passport from the independent state of Google? I do! We are guaranteed to be lead by intelligent people.

Edward says:

Re: Re: Re: 25% is not nothing

“And to Google I say, “don’t let them fool you, or even re-arrange you”. If need be, move to an offshore rig, create an independent nation, and screw all governments equally. Who wants a passport from the independent state of Google? I do! We are guaranteed to be lead by intelligent people.” -the unknown

Kudos, Sir!

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