Text: H.R.4504 — 111th Congress (2009-2010)All Bill Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in House (01/26/2010)

2d Session
H. R. 4504

To authorize the Federal Communications Commission to issue regulations against the censorship of Internet search results, and for other purposes.

January 26, 2010

Mr. Foster introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce, and in addition to the Committee on Foreign Affairs, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned


To authorize the Federal Communications Commission to issue regulations against the censorship of Internet search results, and for other purposes.

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

SECTION 1. Short title.

This Act may be cited as the “Standards for Internet Non-Censorship Act of 2010” or the “SINC Act of 2010”.

SEC. 2. Findings.

The Congress finds the following:

(1) The Internet has been a tremendous force for freedom and economic development worldwide.

(2) In recent years, Internet freedom has been compromised by repressive regimes that use this technology to control the free flow of information and to limit nonviolent political debate.

(3) One of the most egregious violations of Internet freedom has been the enforcement of arbitrary and politically motivated censorship of search engines by repressive regimes that often force search providers to censor search results domestically and globally as a condition of doing business.

(4) Access to United States Web sites by search engines around the world provides billions of dollars of market value to the owners of these search engines.

(5) Search engines under the control of repressive regimes receive the economic benefit of accessing United States Web sites and use this access to provide an incomplete and distorted view of the United States and the world.

(6) Repressive control and censorship of the Internet will continue to be a significant international issue that requires decisive action from the United States and other free countries.

(7) The long-term future of the Internet as an unfettered source of nonviolent free speech will depend on the worldwide adoption of minimum standards of non-censorship.

SEC. 3. Sense of Congress.

It is the sense of Congress that—

(1) the President should promptly establish interim minimum standards of non-censorship for Internet search providers and create programs to restrict access to domestic online information by search providers determined to be censoring nonviolent political speech;

(2) any long-term solution to the problem of the censorship of nonviolent political speech on the Internet must include minimum standards of non-censorship set by a coalition of free countries; and

(3) the President should begin negotiations with free countries to adopt minimum standards for non-censorship of nonviolent political speech as a condition for access to the Internet.

SEC. 4. Federal Communications Commission regulation against censorship.

(a) Regulations against censorship authorized.—The Commission may commence a proceeding to adopt regulations to restrict repressive Internet search providers from accessing domestic online information.

(b) Web site.—If the Commission adopts regulations under subsection (a), the Commission shall develop, operate, and maintain a public Web site that lists such repressive Internet search providers and the reasons for finding that such Internet search providers were repressive.

(c) Enforcement authorized.—The Commission may enforce the regulations under subsection (a) using any existing enforcement authority to prevent Internet search providers and any other person or entity from colluding to evade such regulations.

SEC. 5. Development of International Minimum Standards of Non-censorship for the Internet.

(a) International agreements.—The Secretary of State, in consultation with the Commission, shall seek to enter into agreements with appropriate representatives of free countries to adopt minimum standards to prevent censorship of nonviolent political speech on the Internet as a condition for connection to the Internet.

(b) Restriction of the Internet.—Not earlier than 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act, the Commission may commence a proceeding to adopt regulations to restrict or prevent foreign countries and other entities that operate outside of any agreements made pursuant to subsection (a) from accessing domestic online information.

SEC. 6. Definitions.

In this Act:

(1) COMMISSION.—The term “Commission” means the Federal Communications Commission.

(2) FREE COUNTRY.—The term “free country” means a foreign country that does not censor nonviolent political speech on the Internet.

(3) INTERNET.—The term “Internet” has the meaning given the term in section 231(e) of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 231(e)).

(4) DOMESTIC ONLINE INFORMATION.—The term “domestic online information” means Web sites, databases, and other digital information that is housed or hosted on computers located in the United States or any territory or possession of the United States.

(5) REPRESSIVE INTERNET SEARCH PROVIDER.—The term “repressive Internet search provider” means an Internet search provider that censors search results for the purpose of suppressing nonviolent political speech.