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Wednesday, 18 March 2010

Google calls for trade rules to limit censorship

Robert Clark  |   March 25, 2010

Google’s exit from China market continues to make waves, with the company calling for new trade rules to limit censorship and a second US firm deciding to leave the market because of invasive government practices.


Google’s director of public policy, Alan Davidson, said in written testimony to the US Congress Wednesday  that “barriers to the free flow of information online have… serious economic implications.”


“When a foreign government pursues censorship policies in a manner that favors domestic internet companies, this goes against basic international trade principles of non-discrimination and maintaining a level playing field,” he said.


When a government disrupted an internet service completely, it was “restricting trade well beyond what would be required even if it had a legitimate public policy justification,” Davidson said.


He called for new trade rules to tackle the barriers to information flow and for the US government “to use trade agreements, trade tools and trade diplomacy to promote the free flow of information.”


In other testimony to Congress, US domain registrar Go Daddy said it would no longer register .cn domains in because of new government requirements.


General counsel Christine Jones said Chinese officials had begun requesting photo identification and signatures of its customers and to obtain documentation for individuals who had registered a domain.


“We made the decision that we didn’t want to act as an agent of the Chinese government,” she said


Meanwhile, China Unicom said it would dump Google as a search partner now that it had stopped self-censoring search results, reported.

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