The Computer & Communications Industry Association expressed appreciation Wednesday that two U.S. Cabinet secretaries raised the issue of Internet censorship with Chinese officials. In a joint letter submitted to Chinese officials Wednesday, US Trade Representative Ron Kirk and Commerce Secretary Gary Locke asked the Chinese to revoke the order that all personal computers sold in China after July 1 contain Web-filtering software.
The following statement can be attributed to CCIA President & CEO Ed Black:
“US trade officials are right that this requirement for Web-filtering software by the Chinese could violate terms of China’s obligations under the World Trade Organization.
“We appreciate the US government getting involved on an issue that impacts, trade, privacy and ultimately human rights. For too long US companies have had insufficient support from the US government and have had to negotiate directly with other nations’ on requests for technology and support for their efforts to censor or spy on their citizens. Our government, and those who are committed to democracy, should have been out there creating the rules of the road when it comes to freedom on the Internet.
“This letter is a good initial step. It signals Internet freedom will be an increasingly important issue for this administration. We hope the Chinese will reconsider and not demand tools to easily expand Internet censorship and spying on Chinese citizens. But the problem is not just with the Chinese. It’s a global issue.”