Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Complete Version of The Global Online Freedom Act of 2006

Today I found a much more complete version of this bill. It does include direct language to the issue that compelling us to boycott Yahoo!.

Particularly, page 5, line 21 reads:

(14) United States technology companies have succumbed to pressure by authoritarian foreign governments to provide such governments with information about Internet users that has led to the arrest and imprisonment of cyber dissidents, in violation of the corporate responsibility of such companies to protect and and uphold human rights.

Then, on page 24, line 10:

Section 206 Integrity of User Identifying Information (a) User Protection. - Any United States business that maintains an Internet content hosting service may not provide to any foreign official of an Internet-restricting country information that personally identifies a particular user of such content hosting service, except for legitimate foreign law enforcement purposes as determined by the Department of Justice.

(b) Private Right of Action. - Any person aggrieved by a violation of this section may bring an action for damages, including punitive damages, or other appropriate relief in the appropriate district court of the United States, without regard to the amount in controversy, and without regard to the citizenship of the parties.

(Page 25) Sec. 207. Penalties (a) Civil Penalties. - (1) Any United States business or United States person that violates section 206(a) shall be fined not more than $2,000,000. ...

(Page 25, Line 9) (b) Criminal Penalties. - (1) Any United States business that willfully violates, or willfully attempts to violate section 206(a) shall be fined not more than $2,000,000, or if a natural person who is an officer, director, employee, or agent of a United States business, or stockholder acting on behalf of such United States business, shall be fined not more than $100,000, or imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both.

This bill, if passed, would have a remarkable effect on the very issue that BooYahoo is boycotting. My only concern is that the US Government determines which countries to which this law will be applied--and it is unlikely that the US Government would ever name itself as an internet-restricting country. The law would be more effective if enforced by an international body ... but that is an issue for a different blog.


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