Congress considers new regulations for Silicon Valley Video
Congress considers new regulations for Silicon Valley Video Transcript
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>> I'm Charlie Cooper along with my News.com colleague Declan McCullagh. A new row over Congress, over China and the internet. The object of discord this time is something called The Global Internet Freedom Act. Declan, it seems like when it comes to the internet and China we've got no shortage of issues with as you would call them the Congress critters. What's the problem this time?
>> Well, this seemed like a bill that could go somewhere this year. It's already cleared three different house committees. It's waiting for a floor vote. There's a lot of concern over China and human rights, Tibet, the uprising there and this is also a way that some members of Congress can sort of poke at China a little over currency and trade issues. And so this seemed like it was gonna go somewhere but it's not.
>> What do they want to do with this legislation if it passes?
>> Ah if it passes this would allow the White House to create a list of internet repressive, internet restricting countries and then US companies or companies listed on the US stock market would not be able to store sensitive data in these countries or other sections as well like search engines face new restrictions there. Any US company that receives a take down notice or request for info from other governments has to notify the US Government but that's the big one, servers with personal information not in these countries.
>> So this isn't necessarily restricted to China but obviously the object of their attention is the People's Republic. Now, Silicon Valley hates this idea. The Bush Administration is also on record saying it's not good policy. Where are we now in terms of getting this thing through?
>> Well Silicon Valley may, I mean in they're heart of hearts just like this but it's a bit of a too more complicated than that. Google is saying we like the bill. Microsoft is saying we don't have a position on the bill. Microsoft said in the past they don't like it. It's basically, I think companies are a little hesitant to say this is awful legislation even though it maybe just to avoid entering to the whole China human rights debate.
>> But in the past for the most part, technology companies have cooperated with the government in China arguing, "Look we can't go out on our own. We have to obey local laws".
>> I think there's one principle they follow and that is if we get a request from a government and if we comply with it, we keep our people out of jail and if we don't comply with it our employees in China go to jail, they're going to comply with the request.
>> I'm gonna put you on the spot. Percentage pro and con as far as getting this through to the president's desk, will we see this legislation sometime in the near future?
>> A week or two ago I might have said "Yes this stands a good chance." Remember it's waiting for a house floor vote. It's made its way through all the committees, everyone seems to like it.
>> And there is an election in the oven.
>> And we have the China Olympics coming up, but the news is and this is what we're writing about in our article today. The news is that the Bush Administration really dislikes this bill because it's going to interfere with executive authority, it's going to restrain what the president can constitutionally do and so they say, we flatly oppose this as written now. Maybe you can change it but in this version where--it's a no go. This is veto materials is what they're essentially saying. So now it's much less than a 50 percent chance of becoming law like a 20 percent chance unless dramatic changes are gonna be made.
>> Good stuff. You can read the full text of Declan's piece. It's up on our site now at www.news.com. On behalf of Declan McCulllagh, I'm Charlie Cooper. ^M00:03:40 [ Music ]
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