Thursday, January 12, 2006

Ethical code for Internet?

Thanks to fellow blogger Thomas Crampton ( for this entry.

Good thing, our Indian Govt isn't censoring the freedom of expression on internet yet!

The article focusses mainly on US since most hosting activities are done in US.

Prompted by a series of incidents involving Internet companies that cooperated with the government of China to track down or censor bloggers, Reporters Sans Frontieres, a free press advocacy group, today proposed an Internet corporate responsibility code for operating in repressive countries.

The determination of a "repressive country" would be made by a regularly updated list compiled by the U.S. State Department.

Full proposal here, but in brief:

No U.S. company would be allowed to host e-mail servers within a repressive country. The intent is that the authorities of a repressive country want personal information about the user of a U.S. company's e-mail service, they would have to request it under a procedure supervised by U.S. judicial authorities.
Search engines:
Search engines would not be allowed to incorporate automatic filters that censor "protected" words. The list of "protected" keywords such as "democracy" or "human rights" should be appended to the law or code of conduct.
Internet censorship technologies:
Either U.S. companies would no longer be permitted to sell Internet censorship software to repressive states or they would still be able to market this type of software but it will have to incorporate a list of "protected" keywords that are rendered technically impossible to censor.
Internet surveillance technology and equipment:
U.S. companies would have to obtain the express permission of the Department of Commerce in order to sell to a repressive country any technology or equipment that can be used to intercept electronic communications or that is specifically designed to assist the authorities in monitoring Internet users.
U.S. companies would have to obtain the express permission of the Department of Commerce before providing any program of training in Internet surveillance and censorship techniques in a repressive country.
Are these suggestions desirable and workable, or are there other thoughts?

Originally , Posted by Thomas Crampton on January 10, 2006 01:23 PM (Paris)

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