House Committee Advocates Internet Censorship

September 29, 2010 7:51 pm

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WASHINGTON – During a hearing before the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Trade on the rise of extremist websites today, members of the committee and witnesses advocated for granting the government the authority to remove websites from the Internet based on their content.

The American Civil Liberties Union submitted written testimony to the hearing that acknowledged the challenges posed by the cyber-revolution in protecting the Internet but urged that not only should the Internet remain a place of unfettered freedom and anonymity, but also that its users’ free speech and privacy rights remain intact.

The following can be attributed to Michael Macleod-Ball, ACLU Washington Legislative Office Chief of Staff and First Amendment Counsel:

“Not only is censorship inconsistent with American values, it also is counterproductive to preventing extremist violence. There are critical constitutional limits even when it comes to fighting the so-called ‘war on terror’ online. The Internet is, and must remain, the most open marketplace of ideas in the history of the world. Limiting its reach has a direct impact on the speech and privacy rights of all Americans. Trading our civil liberties for the promise of security will leave us with neither.”

The ACLU’s statement for the committee is available at:

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