US House Of Reps – Working On A Bill To Protect US Businesses From “Repression By Authoritarian Foreign Governments”

Hmmm, very interesting for VoIP blocking nations, especially those who HEAVILY rely on US exports, aid and tourism business.

Bill: H.R.4780 : To promote freedom of expression on the Internet, to protect United States businesses from coercion to participate in repression by authoritarian foreign governments, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep Smith, Christopher H. [NJ-4] (introduced 2/16/2006) Cosponsors (14)
Committees: House International Relations; House Energy and Commerce
Latest Major Action: 6/22/2006 House committee/subcommittee actions. Status: Forwarded by Subcommittee to Full Committee (Amended) by Voice Vote .

As part of the bill, Congress would make various findings, including:

• “Freedom of speech and freedom of the press are fundamental human rights, and free use of the Internet is protected in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human rights, which guarantees freedom ‘to receive and impart information and ideas through any media regardless of frontiers'”;

• “The Internet has been a success because it quickly provides information to its more than 972 million users globally”;

• “The growth of the Internet and other information technologies can be a force for democratic change if the information is not subject to political censorship”; and

• “Political censorship of the Internet degrades the quality of that service and ultimately threatens the integrity and viability of the industry itself, both in the United States and abroad.”

The bill provides the following statement of policy for the United States to:

• “Promote the ability of all to access and contribute information, ideas and knowledge via the Internet, and to advance the right to receive and impart information and ideas through any media regardless of frontiers as a fundamental component of United States foreign policy”;

• “Use all instruments of United States influence, including diplomacy, trade policy and export control, to support, promote and strengthen principles, practices and values that promote the free flow of information”; and

• “Prohibit any United States business from cooperating with officials of Internet-restricting countries in effecting political censorship of online content.”

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