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Freedom House endorses Global Online Freedom Act

(Freedom House/IFEX) – Washington, December 8, 2011 – Freedom House supports the Global Online Freedom Act (GOFA) 2.0, which was introduced today in the U.S. Congress as H.R. 3605. The bill, which would hinder the ability of U.S. companies to sell surveillance and censorship technologies to repressive governments, is crucial to the promotion of global internet freedom.

"U.S. companies are reported to have sold technologies for monitoring digital communications and censoring online content to repressive governments in the Middle East and elsewhere," said Daniel Calingaert, vice president for policy and external relations at Freedom House. "GOFA is the first serious legislative proposal to stop sales of U.S. technology that is used to violate human rights."

The bill would prohibit exports of surveillance and censorship technologies to countries that restrict the internet. It would also require U.S. technology companies to disclose their policies for collecting and sharing personal data and for blocking access to online content.

"The explosive growth of social media and internet use generally is being met by increasingly sophisticated forms of repression," continued Calingaert. "More and more governments are eavesdropping on the communications of human rights activists and restricting internet users' access to information, such as independent news websites and peaceful online political discussions."

Click here for Freedom House's report: Freedom on the Net 2011

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