Does this article on Slashdot mark an end to my worries? According to a new bill submitted by Chris Smith, U.S Based corporations would be subjected to criminal liability should they censor Internet content and limit freedom of speech (arstechnica article). The new bill requires U.S Corporations to adhere to a new kind of policy, both in regards to Privacy Policies and to Content-Filtering and requires search engines to submit to the U.S Government their “black lists” per country (which, as other critics may say, limits the Search Engines from free business).
However, during the last few months, I’ve been heading the blogger coalition against censorship, trying to block Amnon Cohen‘s prop 892 (also, also). However, this bill may not mean an end to my worries, the proposed bill is to censor adult content: gambling, violence and nudity, these three are absent from the U.S definition of censorship; as their interest in Internet Freedom is limited not to free speech, but to democratic speech.
Img CC-BY-SA-NC MateOptMd
Whilst according to sec 203 of the bill, search engines cannot limit keywords (or have to explain why such keywords were blocked), section 204 only requests hosting services (defined also as: a company which “makes such data available via the Internet.”, i.e Cisco and such) and to provide URLs which were blocked from availability; the only requirement is that Israel shall be deemed as an Internet Restricting Country according to the bill, which requires the U.S President to declare it as such.
Moreover, once the U.S President decides to declare Israel as a Internet Restricting Country, U.S Corporations may not assist our service providers implementing the “Big Brother” act (see more); This means that most of our problems, as nationals seeking internet freedom, are dependent on such a statement by the Honorable Prez. However, since there is quite a wide discretion for his implementation of the act, we are in deep shit:
A foreign country shall be designated as an Internet-restricting country if the President determines that the government of the country is directly or indirectly responsible for a systematic pattern of substantial restrictions on Internet freedom during the preceding 1-year period.
This means that as long as the U.S needs Israel to monitor Middle East “Democracy”, we will be the only Middle Eastern Country with both Internet Access and Internet Restriction…