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EU may treat Internet censorship as trade barrier

20 March, 2008
By Allison Orr

According to a recent news article, the European Parliament has recently passed a proposal to treat Internet censorship by repressive regimes as a trade barrier.  The proposal was put forward to Dutch member, Jules Maaten, and was passed on a 571-38 vote.

The initiative aims to target countries that institute restrictions on what their citizens can do and see online, particularly targeting China.  Internet and telecommunications companies such a Google, Yahoo, Telecom Italia and France Telecom are cited by Maaten as being made to limit their services in accordance with requirements of authoritarian states.  

If the proposal is adopted the EU would classify any Internet censorship as a barrier to trade and would be required to raise the issue in any trade negotiations.  The proposal will now go to the European Council for consideration before it can be adopted.

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