Google urges US to press China on Net

Google yesterday urged Western nations to challenge a growing list of Internet restrictions in China and around the world as a violation of global trade rules — and to negotiate new trade deals to protect the free flow of online information.

“More than 40 governments now engage in broad-scale restriction of online information, a tenfold increase from just a decade ago,” the search engine giant said in a policy brief that follows a censorship battle with China this year.

“These actions unnecessarily restrict trade, and left unchecked, they will almost certainly get worse.”

With worldwide Internet commerce projected to soon reach $1 trillion, it is important to thousands of U.S. companies that China and other countries only be allowed to censor or restrict information in exceptional circumstances, Google said.

The California-based company, which in the first quarter of 2010 earned more than half of its revenues outside the United States, has had rocky relations with Chinese authorities since it announced in January it would no longer censor search results in mainland China.

It began rerouting visitors to its China website to a separate uncensored site in Hong Kong, but eventually changed the setup so mainland China users had to click on a link to go to the Hong Kong site.



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