EU To Consider Internet Censorship A Trade Barrier

    February 28, 2008

The European Parliament has passed a proposal that would penalize countries for censoring content on the Internet.

EU To Consider Internet Censorship A Trade Barrier
    Jules Maaten

The proposal was introduced by Jules Maaten of the conservative Dutch WD party and would treat Internet censorship by other countries as a trade barrier. The proposal passed in the European Parliament by a wide margin 571-38. It will now go to the European Council where it can be passed or sent back to the Parliament for changes.

"The ‘Great Chinese Firewall’ should be seen as an international trade barrier," Maaten said according to Livre. "In addition to American companies like Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft, European Internet companies like Wanadoo, Telecom Italia, and France Telecom have to unwillingly censor their services in authoritarian states."

If the European Council passes the proposal, the EU will label any Internet censorship as a barrier to trade and will be considered during any trade negotiations. The proposal could have an impact on the way the EU trades with countries like China who are well known for their heavy censorship of the Internet.