Should Internet Censorship Be Considered A Trade Barrier?

from the bad-idea-for-a-good-reason? dept

I'm generally wary of attempts to use international trade agreements to bludgeon through other policies. For example, Hollywood has used that system for ages to force through bad copyright laws on other nations. So, consider me a bit skeptical to hear that the EU is now looking to claim that internet censorship should be considered a trade barrier. I certainly respect the reasoning, that internet censorship is bad, and it's not a good idea to encourage such policies. However, tying it to trade agreements is likely to open a potentially dangerous can of worms, while probably having little to no impact on getting censoring countries to change their policies.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    John Duncan Yoyo, Feb 27th, 2008 @ 9:42am

    First they fine the pants off Microsoft and now this. What a Union a government with real cojones.

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

  2. identicon
    neil, Feb 27th, 2008 @ 9:59am


    you think the fines for microsoft are fare and just?

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

  3. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 27th, 2008 @ 10:07am

    Re: Re:

    yes. yes i do.

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

  4. identicon
    Joel Coehoorn, Feb 27th, 2008 @ 10:42am

    Think of it this way:

    A company in Country A puts up a web site selling it's products, and will ship anywhere. Companies in the same industry in Country B now have to compete with this company more directly. They don't like this, and convince Country B to censor the web site.

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

  5. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 27th, 2008 @ 11:28am

    Does this mean that France will have to stop cracking down on Nazi propoganda and memorabilia sales on the web?

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

  6. identicon
    Drawmack, Feb 27th, 2008 @ 1:09pm


    Tying two unrelated concepts in order to foster the desired outcome is always a bad idea. First of all, if we tie censorship to trade agreements then we also tie censorship to embargoes. For example I live in the U.S., so if this tie is successfully made then I'll not be able to view any site from Cuba.

    Additionally, it could prevent a politically just embargo against someone because the trade embargo would create an information embargo.

    If trade embargoes, imply information embargoes then we truly are at the mercy of our government's honesty on foreign policy. Does this sound like a good thing to you?

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

  7. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 27th, 2008 @ 1:38pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Y'know, cause bundling an internet browser is just so damn evil. >.>

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

  8. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 27th, 2008 @ 6:48pm

    Couldn't companies not having to pay health insurance for their employees while the govt. pays be considered a trade barrier?

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

  9. identicon
    Xenu Atkinson, Mar 29th, 2008 @ 9:42am

    good idea, good reason

    When China forces Western companies to comply with the Communist Party's arbitrary censorship agenda, those Western companies are forced to put onto the Chinese market hobbled, incomplete products. Whereas China's stock in trade (right now)is generally upper-stream manufactured goods, the United States economy has turned into a heavily services-oriented, information-rich market. The firms that are thriving in our marketplace simply don't do well in China's environment of artificial barriers and rampant cronyism. (See, for example, Yahoo's experience from 1999 to 2005--they eventually had to pass off Yahoo! China to a Chinese firm precisely because they couldn't walk an impossible line.)

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

  10. identicon
    Gayathri, Apr 4th, 2008 @ 8:29am

    Business marketing system

    A team of successful entrepreneurs credited for
    A new home-based-business marketing system that provides the strategic high ground for internet marketing.
    Pro Team Marketing uses an automated marketing system that is currently promoting a cutting-edge young company, entering the early growth stage, that targets the largest consumer base in the United States with their financial educational products.

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

  11. identicon
    Mazie Gentner, Dec 18th, 2012 @ 6:53pm

    I am working for an online marketing agency Sydney and I should say that it can be a trade barrier for the reason that it is going to limit connection of companies with their customers and other people. People should conduct more studies and research because anything that we do in the internet can affect people worldwide.

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

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