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Originally published August 9 2010

Google calls for end to internet censorship

by David Gutierrez, staff writer

(NaturalNews) Testifying before a Congressional panel, Google's director of public policy, Alan Davidson, called for firm action to end censorship of the Internet.

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

Google recently shut down its Chinese web search service and began directing users in China to its Hong Kong page instead. The decision was sparked by repeated hacker attacks on Google's servers over the past year, most of them targeting the email accounts of human rights activists. Although the Chinese government has denied involvement in the attacks, Google said that the incident had highlighted the wider problem of Internet censorship in China.

The Hong Kong site has since been the target of "intermittent" censorship, Davidson said.

Several days after Google's announcement, the Internet company Go Daddy stated that it would cease registering domain names in China. The decision came after repeated attempts by the Chinese government to secure personal information about people who had registered domain names through Go Daddy. The government had also requested that Go Daddy require all new customers to provide a signature and photo identification.

"Information is not to be feared, and ideas are not enemies to be crushed," said U.S. Sen. Byron Dorgan. "The truth is China too often wants a one-way relationship with the world."

But according to Davidson, China is only one of more than 40 countries that actively engage in Internet censorship, and one of 25 that have blocked Google at least once during the past few years.

Davidson suggested that Congress withhold all development aid to countries that censor the Internet, and that it write pledges to keep the Internet unfiltered into international trade agreements.

Rather than being viewed as a human rights issue, Davidson said, Internet censorship should be viewed as an obstacle to the profit of corporations that engage in foreign trade over the Web.

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