Congressional Record: October 10, 2002 (Senate)
Page S10361-S10388



      By Mr. WYDEN (for himself and Mr. Kyl):
  S. 3093. A bill to develop and deploy technologies to defeat Internet 
jamming and censorship; to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and 
  Mr. WYDEN. Mr. President, over the past seven years, Congressman 
Chris Cox and I have teamed up several times on legislation affecting 
the Internet. The Global Internet Freedom Act that I will introduce 
today could be called "Cox-Wyden V," because this is our fifth 
collaboration. I am pleased to be joined by Senator Kyl in introducing 
this bill in the Senate.
  This legislation aims to foster the development and deployment of 
technologies to defeat state-sponsored Internet jamming and censorship, 
and in turn, to help unleash the potential of the Internet to promote 
the causes of freedom and democracy worldwide.
  This is a time when Americans are acutely focused on security threats 
emanating from sources beyond U.S. borders. The terrorist attacks of 
September 11 made plain that ignorance, extremism, and hate abroad can 
have terrible consequences not just in other countries, but right here 
at home. And the daily drumbeat of debate over Iraq emphasizes that 
oppressive foreign regimes can pose serious hazards. The world is truly 
getting smaller.
  In the field of information technology, Americans have rightly 
responded with a renewed emphasis on cybersecurity. The interlinked 
computer networks that make up the Internet, and on which American's 
critical infrastructure increasingly relies, must be secured against 
would-be cyberterrorists. This is a matter of top importance, and I 
have sponsored legislation, as Chairman of the Science and Technology 
Subcommittee, to promote research and innovation in this area. It is my 
hope that the Cybersecurity Research and Development Act will be signed 
by the President in the coming weeks.
  But it is important to remember that the international nature of the 
Internet does not just create new threats. It also presents tremendous 
new opportunities.
  Openness, transparency, and the unfettered flow of information have 
always been the allies of freedom and democracy. Over time, nothing 
erodes oppression and intolerance like the widespread dissemination of 
knowledge and ideas. And technology has often played a key role in this 
process. From the printing press to radio, technological advances have 
revolutionized the spread information and ideas and opened up new 
horizons for people everywhere. Not surprisingly, the foes of freedom, 
understanding the threat these technologies pose, have often responded 
with such steps as censoring the press, jamming radio broadcasts, and 
putting media outlets under state control.
  The Internet promises to revolutionize the spread of information yet 
again. Unlike its predecessor technologies, it offers a truly worldwide 
network that makes geographic distance irrelevant. It enables any 
person connected to it to exchange ideas quickly and easily with people 
and organizations on the other side of the globe. The quantity and 
variety of information it permits access to are virtually unlimited.
  So once again, governments that fear freedom are trying to rein in 
the technology's potential. They block access to websites. They censor 
websites and email. They interrupt Internet search engines when users 
try explore the "wrong" topics. They closely monitor citizens' 
Internet usage and make it known that those who visit the "wrong" 
websites will be punished. Or

[[Page S10369]]

they prevent Internet access altogether, by prohibiting ownership of 
personal computers.
  For a confirmed example of this, I would simply call attention to the 
inaugural report of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, 
issued just last week, October 2. This report, the product of a 
bipartisan commission with members from the Senate, the House of 
Representatives, and the Administration, finds that "over the last 18 
months, the Chinese government has issued an extensive and still 
growing series of regulations restricting Internet content and placing 
monitoring requirements on industry." It goes on to cite accounts of 
the Chinese government using high-tech software and hardware to 
"block, filter, and hack websites and e-mail." Offshore dissident 
websites, foreign news websites, search engines, and Voice of America's 
weekly e-mail to China are all subject to being blocked. Internet users
attempting to access foreign web-sites often find themselves redirected
to Chinese government-approved websites.
  Other countries, from Cuba to Burma to Tunisia to Vietnam, engage in 
similar activity.
  There are technologies that can help defeat the firewalls and filters 
that these governments choose to erect. Proxy servers, intermediaries, 
"mirrors," and encryption may all have useful applications in this 
regard. But the U.S. Government has done little to promote 
technological approaches. This country devotes considerable resources 
to combat the jamming of Voice of America broadcasting abroad. But to 
date, it has budgeted only about $1 million for technologies to counter 
Internet jamming and censorship.
  This country can and should do better. The Internet is too important 
a communications medium, and its potential as a force for freedom and 
democracy is too great, to make a second-rate effort in this area.
  That is why Senator Kyl and I are introducing the Global Internet 
Freedom Act today. It is time for the U.S. Government to make a serious 
commitment to support technology that can help keep the Internet open, 
available, and free of political censorship for people all over the 
  This legislation would establish an Office of Global Internet 
Freedom, with the express mission of promoting technology to combat 
state-sponsored Internet jamming. The office would be based in the 
Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information 
Administration, NTIA, to take advantage of NTIA's extensive expertise 
in international telecommunications and Internet issues. Location 
within the Department of Commerce will also help ensure close ties with 
American technology companies, whose active involvement will be 
essential for any technology-based effort to succeed. Cooperation with 
the International Broadcasting Bureau will be indispensable as well, 
and is required in the legislation.
  Funding for the new office would be authorized at $30 million for 
each of the next two fiscal years. The office would make an annual 
report to Congress on its activities, and on the extent of state-
sponsored Internet blocking in different countries around the world.
  Finally, the bill would express the sense of Congress that the United 
States should denounce the practice of state-sponsored blocking of 
access to the Internet, should submit a resolution on the topic to the 
United Nations Human Rights Convention, and should deploy technologies 
to address the problem as soon as practicable.
  As I mentioned at the outset, Representatives Chris Cox and Tom 
Lantos have already introduced companion legislation in the House, and 
I strongly applaud them for taking the lead on this issue. Here in the 
Senate, I urge my colleagues to join Senator Kyl and myself in this 
important, bipartisan effort.
  I ask unanimous consent that the text of the bill be printed in the 
  There being no objection, the bill was ordered to be printed in the 
Record, as follows:

                                S. 3093

       Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of 
     the United States of America in Congress assembled,


       This Act may be cited as the "Global Internet Freedom 


       The Congress makes the following findings:
       (1) Freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and freedom of 
     association are fundamental characteristics of a free 
     society. The first amendment to the Constitution of the 
     United States guarantees that "Congress shall make no law . 
     . . abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the 
     right of the people peaceably to assemble." These 
     constitutional provisions guarantee the rights of Americans 
     to communicate and associate with one another without 
     restriction, including unfettered communication and 
     association via the Internet. Article 19 of the United 
     Nation's Universal Declaration of Human Rights explicitly 
     guarantees the freedom to "receive and impart information 
     and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers".
       (2) All people have the right to communicate freely with 
     others, and to have unrestricted access to news and 
     information, on the Internet.
       (3) With nearly 10 percent of the world's population now 
     online, and more gaining access each day, the Internet stands 
     to become the most powerful engine for democratization and 
     the free exchange of ideas ever invented.
       (4) Unrestricted access to news and information on the 
     Internet is a check on repressive rule by authoritarian 
     regimes around the world.
       (5) The governments of Burma, Cuba, Laos, North Korea, the 
     People's Republic of China, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Vietnam, 
     among others, are taking active measures to keep their 
     citizens from freely accessing the Internet and obtaining 
     international political, religious, and economic news and 
       (6) Intergovernmental, nongovernmental, and media 
     organizations have reported the widespread and increasing 
     pattern by authoritarian governments to block, jam, and 
     monitor Internet access and content, using technologies such 
     as firewalls, filters, and "black boxes". Such jamming and 
     monitoring of individual activity on the Internet includes 
     surveillance of e-mail messages, message boards, and the use 
     of particular words; "stealth blocking" individuals from 
     visiting websites; the development of "black lists" of 
     users that seek to visit these websites; and the denial of 
     access to the Internet.
       (7) The Voice of America and Radio Free Asia, as well as 
     hundreds of news sources with an Internet presence, are 
     routinely being jammed by repressive governments.
       (8) Since the 1940s, the United States has deployed anti-
     jamming technologies to make Voice of America and other 
     United States Government sponsored broadcasting available to 
     people in nations with governments that seek to block news 
     and information.
       (9) The United States Government has thus far commenced 
     only modest steps to fund and deploy technologies to defeat 
     Internet censorship. To date, the Voice of America and Radio 
     Free Asia have committed a total of $1,000,000 for technology 
     to counter Internet jamming by the People's Republic of 
     China. This technology, which has been successful in 
     attracting 100,000 electronic hits per day from the People's 
     Republic of China, has been relied upon by Voice of America 
     and Radio Free Asia to ensure access to their programming by 
     citizens of the People's Republic of China, but United States 
     Government financial support for the technology has lapsed. 
     In most other countries there is no meaningful United States 
     support for Internet freedom.
       (10) The success of United States policy in support of 
     freedom of speech, press, and association requires new 
     initiatives and technologies to defeat totalitarian and 
     authoritarian controls on news and information over the 

     SEC. 3. PURPOSES.

       The purposes of this Act are--
       (1) to adopt an effective and robust global Internet 
     freedom policy;
       (2) to establish an office within the National 
     Telecommunications and Information Administration with the 
     sole mission of promoting technological means of countering 
     Internet jamming and blocking by repressive regimes;
       (3) to expedite the development and deployment of 
     technology to protect Internet freedom around the world;
       (4) to authorize the commitment of a substantial portion of 
     United States Government resources to the continued 
     development and implementation of technologies to counter the 
     jamming of the Internet;
       (5) to utilize the expertise of the private sector in the 
     development and implementation of such technologies, so that 
     the many current technologies used commercially for securing 
     business transactions and providing virtual meeting space can 
     be used to promote democracy and freedom; and
       (6 to bring to bear the pressure of the free world on 
     repressive governments guilty of Internet censorship and the 
     intimidation and persecution of their citizens who use the 


       (a) Establishment of Office of Global Internet Freedom.--
     There is established in the National Telecommunications and 
     Information Administration the Office of Global Internet 
     Freedom (hereinafter in this Act referred to as the 
     "Office"). The Office shall be

[[Page S10370]]

     headed by a Director who shall develop and implement, in 
     consultation with the International Broadcasting Bureau, a 
     comprehensive global strategy for promoting technology to 
     combat state-sponsored and state-directed Internet jamming 
     and persecution of those who use the Internet.
       (b) Authorization of Appropriations.--There are authorized 
     to be appropriated to the Office $30,000,000 for each of the 
     fiscal years 2003 and 2004.
       (c) Corporation of Other Federal Departments and 
     Agencies.--Each department and agency of the United States 
     Government shall cooperate fully with, and assist in the 
     implementation of, the strategy developed by the Office and 
     shall make such resources and information available to the 
     Office as is necessary to the achievement of the purposes of 
     this Act.
       (d) Report to Congress.--On March 1 following the date of 
     the enactment of this Act and annually thereafter, the 
     Director of the Office shall submit to the Congress a report 
     on the status of state interference with Internet use and of 
     efforts by the United States to counter such interference. 
     Each report shall list the countries that pursue policies of 
     Internet censorship, blocking, and other abuses; provide 
     information concerning the government agencies or quasi-
     governmental organizations that implement Internet 
     censorship; and describe with the greatest particularity 
     practicable the technological means by which such blocking 
     and other abuses are accomplished. In the discretion of the 
     Director, such report may be submitted in both a classified 
     and nonclassified version.
       (e) Limitation on Authority.--Nothing in this Act shall be 
     interpreted to authorize any action by the United States to 
     interfere with foreign national censorship for the purpose of 
     protecting minors from harm, preserving public morality, or 
     assisting with legitimate law enforcement aims.


       It is the sense of the Congress that the United States 
       (1) publicly, prominently, and consistently denounce 
     governments that restrict, censor, ban, and block access to 
     information on the Internet;
       (2) direct the United States Representative to the United 
     Nations to submit a resolution at the next annual meeting of 
     the United Nations Human Rights Commission condemning all 
     governments that practice Internet censorship and deny 
     freedom to access and share information; and
       (3) deploy, at the earliest practicable date, technologies 
     aimed at defeating state-directed Internet censorship and the 
     persecution of those who use the Internet.

  Mr. KYL. Mr. President, I rise today to introduce, with Senator 
Wyden, the Global Internet Freedom Act.
  The Internet is one of the most powerful tools to promote the 
exchange of ideas and to disseminate information. In that regard, it is 
a key component in our efforts to reach populations living under 
undemocratic governments that continue to restrict freedom of speech, 
the press, and association. Unfortunately, however, many authoritarian 
governments including the regimes in the People's Republic of China, 
Saudi Arabia, Syria, Vietnam, Cuba, and North Korea aggressively block 
and censor the Internet, often subjecting to torture and imprisonment 
those individuals who dare to resist the controls.
  In Vietnam, for example, the Prime Minister issued a decree in August 
2000 that prohibits individuals from using the Internet "for the 
purpose of hostile actions against the country or to destabilize 
security, violate morality, or violate other laws and regulations." 
The Communist government owns and controls the sole Internet access 
provider, which is authorized to monitor the sites that subscribers 
use. It erects firewalls to block sites it deems politically or 
culturally inappropriate. And it is seeking additional authority to 
monitor some 4,000 Internet cafes in Vietnam, and hold responsible the 
owners of these cafes for customer use of the Internet.
  The situation in Syria is no better. Like Vietnam, that country has 
only one government-run Internet service provider. The Government 
blocks access to Internet sites that contain information deemed 
politically sensitive including pro-Israel sites and also periodically 
blocks access to servers that provide free e-mail services. In 2000, 
the Syrian Government which monitors e-mail detained one individual for 
simply forwarding via e-mail a political cartoon.
  The Chinese Government is one of the worst offenders. Beijing has 
passed sweeping regulations in the past 2 years prohibiting news and 
commentary on Internet sites in China that are not state-sanctioned. 
The Ministry of Information Industry regulates Internet access, and the 
Ministries of Public and State Security monitor its use. According to 
the State Department's most recent Country Reports on Human Rights 

       Despite the continued expansion of the Internet in the 
     country, the Chinese government maintained its efforts to 
     monitor and control content on the Internet. . . . The 
     authorities block access to Web sites they find offensive. 
     Authorities have at times blocked politically sensitive Web 
     sites, including those of dissident groups and some major 
     foreign news organizations, such as the VOA, the Washington 
     Post, the New York Times, and the BBC.

  The U.S.-China Security Review Commission noted in its recent report 
that China has even convinced American companies like Yahoo! to assist 
in its censorship efforts, and others, like America Online, to leave 
open the possibility of turning over names, e-mail addresses, or 
records of political dissidents if the Chinese Government demands them.
  Those who attempt to circumvent Internet restrictions in China are 
often subject to harsh punishment. For example, Huang Qi, the operator 
of an Internet site that posted information about missing persons, 
including students who disappeared in the 1989 Tiananmen massacre, was 
tried secretly and found guilty of "subverting state power." 
According to the State Department, Huang was bound hand and foot and 
beaten by police while they tried to force him to confess.
  These are but a few examples of the incredible lengths that 
authoritarian governments will go to in order to preserve control over 
their populations and prevent change. Voice of America, Radio Free 
Asia, Amnesty International, and the National Endowment for Democracy--
just to name a few--all utilize the Internet to try to provide news, 
spread democratic values, and promote human rights in these countries. 
But the obstacles they face are great.
  The U.S. private sector is developing a number of techniques and 
technologies to combat Internet blocking. Unfortunately, however, the 
U.S. Government has contributed few resources to assist these efforts 
and to put the new techniques to use. For example, Voice of America and 
Radio Free Asia have budgeted only $1 million for technology to counter 
Chinese Government Internet jamming, and that funding has now expired.
  This is why I am pleased to introduce the Global Internet Freedom 
Act. This bill will take an important step toward promoting Internet 
freedom throughout the world. Specifically, it establishes, within the 
Commerce Department's National Telecommunications and Information 
Administration, the Office of Global Internet Freedom. It authorizes 
$30 million per year in fiscal years 2003 and 2004 for this office, 
which would be responsible for developing and implementing a 
comprehensive global strategy to combat state-sponsored Internet 
jamming and persecution of Internet users. Additionally, the director 
of the office would be required to submit to Congress an annual report 
on U.S. efforts to counter state interference with Internet use.
  Similar legislation has already been introduced in the House of 
Representatives by Congressmen Cox and Lantos.
  I cannot stress enough the importance of the Internet in promoting 
the flow of democratic ideas. If the benefits of the Internet are able 
to reach more and more people around the globe, repressive governments 
will begin to be challenged by individuals who are freely exchanging 
views and getting uncensored news and information.
  The United States should take full advantage of the opportunities 
inherent in worldwide access to the Internet, and should make clear to 
the international community that fostering Internet freedom is a top 
priority. Creation of an Office of Global Internet Freedom will enable 
us to do just that.
  I ask unanimous consent that the bill be printed in the Record.