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 US lawmakers seek action on Internet freedom

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Date posted: 11/03/2010

US lawmakers from the two major parties on Tuesday issued a joint call for government action to ensure Internet freedom overseas amid alarm at China's cyber-censorship.

Democratic Representative David Wu and Republican Representative Chris Smith announced they were inviting lawmakers into a bipartisan Global Internet Freedom Caucus to help push forward legislation.

Wu, a Chinese American from Oregon, said he was introducing legislation to set up a government-backed Internet Freedom Foundation to award competitive grants for researchers to develop technology to circumvent censorship.

"While the spread of digital media technology is a tremendous force for good, it also faces a number of threats from those who seek to control information, quell dissent and censor non-violent free expression," Wu said.

"In an ever-changing digital world, we must work together to appeal to the better angels of our nature and strive not just for prosperity, but for freedom," he said.

Smith is the author of another bill being considered by Congress, the Global Online Freedom Act, that would prohibit US firms from assisting in cyber-censorship overseas.

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