Thursday, March 25, 2010

Google Calls for Action on Web Limits

A top Google executive on Wednesday called for rules to put pressure on governments that filter the Internet, saying the practice was hindering international trade.

Alan Davidson, director of public policy for Google, told a joint Congressional panel that the United States should consider withholding development aid for countries that restrict certain Web sites. He said censorship had become more than a human rights issue and was hurting profit for foreign companies that rely on the Internet to reach customers.

“The growing problem for Internet censorship is not isolated to one country or one region,” Mr. Davidson told the Congressional-Executive Commission on China. “No single company and no single industry can tackle Internet censorship on its own.”

The fallout from China’s restrictive Internet policies widened on Wednesday when officials from Go Daddy Group, an Internet services company, told the commission that the company would halt registration of Chinese domain names.

Christine Jones, general counsel of Go Daddy, said the company was concerned about privacy after Chinese officials requested photo identification and signatures of its customers. For the first time, she said, Go Daddy had been asked to retroactively obtain documentation for individuals who had registered a domain name.

“We’re concerned about the chilling effect,” Ms. Jones said. “We made the decision that we didn’t want to act as an agent of the Chinese government.”

To read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/25/technology/25google.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=a6

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