EU May Name Censorship a Trade Barrier

Measure takes aim at the 'Great Firewall of China'; would inject web into trade talks
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 28, 2008 2:33 PM CST
A Chinese man uses the computer at an internet cafe in Beijing Friday, Oct. 5, 2007. Reporters Without Borders, an international media rights group called on China on Wednesday to loosen controls on Internet...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – The EU is out to hack down the Great Firewall of China, Ars Technica reports. A new proposal would classify the web censorship China and other oppressive regimes employ as a trade barrier, an approach its creator calls “unusual, but effective.” The measure already sailed through the European Parliament 571-38, and now awaits European Council confirmation.

If the Council gives the thumbs up, web censorship would need to be on the table in any trade negotiations between the EU and other nations. It’s the first time Internet traffic has been used as a trade issue, but proponents say it’s a sensible classification, since it blocks the products of many European web companies that haven’t been willing to censor themselves.