US: Obama lobbied over internet censorship
Date: 30 Jun 2009
One week after the Chinese government blocked access to Google's website on the grounds that it contained too many links to sites that were considered unsavoury, campaign groups are urging President Obama to pass legislation that would punish companies that they feel collaborate with governments that require internet censorship.
The focus is the Global Online Freedom Act, which would make it illegal for US companies to profit from involvement in online censorship. It would present a major challenge for companies such as Google and Microsoft who are required, in order to be able to do business in China at all, to operate in line with the government's censorship rules.
In the past, the focus had particularly been on political expression. Search results for terms such as 'Tiananmen Square' are censored the sites that might refer to the student protests that were broken up there by the Chinese military. Microsoft's new search engine rival to Google, named 'Bing', also censors results in China in the same way.
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In a recent article, the BBC's economics editor Robert Peston highlighted the fact that in 2012 the chances are that the economy - punch drunk as it is from the various flavours of debt crisis it has been pummelled with over the course of the year - will be hit by the collapse of a major bank and / or government.
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