Increasing Global Demand for an Uncensored Internet—How the U.S. Can Help Defeat Online Censorship by Facilitating Private Action
This Note discusses efforts to defeat government censorship of the Internet. In the narrow meaning of that idea, this Note initially discusses technological efforts to circumvent government-imposed Internet firewalls; in the broader sense, it addresses the larger goal of inducing censoring governments to bring their firewalls down. Proposed U.S. legislation would provide U.S. government funding of censorship circumvention technology. This Note discusses why such funding is not a good approach. Absent larger international efforts, private action—within both the U.S. and censoring countries—has the best chance of bringing down government-run firewalls. This Note discusses how the U.S. government can best facilitate such private action through a two-pronged approach. The approach attempts to increase private circumvention efforts while decreasing U.S. corporate assistance in foreign governments’ censoring. This Note argues that such an approach would result in the possibility of censoring governments bringing down their firewalls because of an increased demand for an uncensored Internet and sufficient government frustration in maintaining such censorship.