Feeds

Google to Commies: We’ll make censorship illegal

Leave the data law breaking to us

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Google is working with the US government to try to make it illegal for countries to censor the Internet by using international trade rules.

The ad broker’s communications head, Robert Boorstin, told a Media Access Project audience in DC that Google “believes very strongly, as do other companies, that censorship is a trade barrier” and said a number of US government department were working together with the company to make a case to the World Trade Organization (WTO).

The idea is that censored search results limit Google’s ability to enjoy fair trade and put local competitors (such as China’s Baidu search engine) at a commercial advantage.

The theme of censorship has become a Google favorite in recent months following a major failing out with Beijing after Google accused the Chinese government of trying to hack its systems in order to find information on dissidents. Google’s public policy blog also pointed out just a few days ago that the Vietnamese government had introduced legislation that would allow it to block websites and track users.

No doubt Google hopes that while it is fighting the Commies in the cause of “freedom,” no one will notice that the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) has accused the company of breaking privacy laws by, erm, snooping on people’s networks and illegally storing the data. Or that the White House’s Deputy CTO was recently reprimanded for inappropriate policy discussions with his former work colleagues at Google.

Nevertheless, the idea to use the WTO to force Beijing, among others, to limit censorship may have legs. It was first touted by EU vice-president Neelie Kroes last month and reported by Chinese newspapers after her visit to Beijing. European officials quickly downplayed the comments saying that a case needed to be built first. Enter Google and the US government.

But if Google’s fog-producing self-righteousness – not to mention Hillary Clinton’s desire to find a popular go-getting platform – isn’t enough, European businesses are keen to see free trade rules on data because of the move to mobile devices to access information – a market where Europe still dominates.

Of course any action through the WTO’s bureaucracy would take years but according to experts there is a possibility of it happening, particularly as China didn’t ask for a specific exemption for online services when it joined the WTO in 2001. ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Israeli spies rebel over mass-snooping on innocent Palestinians
'Disciplinary treatment will be sharp and clear' vow spy-chiefs
Apple CEO Tim Cook: TV is TERRIBLE and stuck in the 1970s
The iKing thinks telly is far too fiddly and ugly – basically, iTunes
Huawei ditches new Windows Phone mobe plans, blames poor sales
Giganto mobe firm slams door shut on Microsoft. OH DEAR
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
OECD lashes out at tax avoiding globocorps' location-flipping antics
You hear that, Amazon, Google, Microsoft et al?
Show us your Five-Eyes SECRETS says Privacy International
Refusal to disclose GCHQ canteen menus and prices triggers Euro Human Rights Court action
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.