By Curt on Oct 23, 2007 in United States
Source: Committee to Protect Bloggers
United States House Foreign Affairs Committee has approved the Global Online Freedom Act (GOFA), according to Reporters Without Borders. Drafted in February 2006 by Christopher Smith (R), New Jersey, this bipartisan bill is designed to prevent American Internet companies from collaborating with repressive governments. This has happened too many times to count already. The most egregious example is Yahoo’s assistance of Chinese government prosecution of Shi Tao, a reporter now sentenced to 10 years in prison. Now, the bill goes on to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.
The Global Online Freedom Act would prevent repressive governments - those that punish dissidents and human rights activists who use their right to online free expression - from having access to personal data by banning US companies from locating the servers containing this data in the territories controlled by such governments.
The bill would also ban US companies from providing information enabling users to be identified, except in cases in which the law is being legitimately applied. This, however, would be decided by the US justice department and not the companies.