held a Capitol Hill briefing July 15th on global Internet freedom. Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Jules Maaten of the European Union Parliament discussed their joint efforts to pass legislation aimed at promoting online free expression and privacy in repressive countries like China.
CDT is generally supportive
of the goals of Rep. Smith's Global Online Freedom Act (GOFA). We agree that statutorily creating a State Department office dedicated to Internet freedom and mandating annual reports on the Internet human rights practices of various countries are good ideas. But we believe other provisions of the bill will likely not be effective and may even be counterproductive. For example, storing user data outside a country is not a fool-proof way of avoiding that country's assertion of jurisdiction over the information; and requiring disclosure of filtered search terms may create a "race to the bottom" when repressive regimes realize what's not
Mr. Maaten of the EU revealed that he was inspired by the U.S. bill when drafting his own "EU Global Online Freedom Act."
He explained that controlling exports of hardware and software that facilitate Internet censorship and surveillance are a major concern in Europe.
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