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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on May 6, 2009.
Global Online Freedom Act of 2009 - Makes it U.S. policy to: (1) promote the freedom to seek, receive, and impart information and ideas through any media; (2) use all appropriate instruments of U.S. influence to support the free flow of information without interference or discrimination; and (3) deter U.S. businesses from cooperating with Internet-restricting countries in effecting online censorship.
Expresses the sense of Congress that: (1) the President should seek international agreements to protect Internet freedom; and (2) some U.S. businesses, in assisting foreign governments to restrict online access to U.S.-supported websites and government reports and to identify individual Internet users, are working contrary to U.S. foreign policy interests.
Amends the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 to require assessments of electronic information freedom in each foreign country.
Establishes in the Department of State the Office of Global Internet Freedom (OGIF).
Directs the Secretary of State to annually designate Internet-restricting countries. Prohibits, subject to waiver, U.S. businesses that provide to the public a commercial Internet search engine, communications services, or hosting services from locating, in such countries, any personally identifiable information used to establish or maintain an Internet services account.
Requires U.S. businesses that collect or obtain personally identifiable information through the Internet to notify the OGIF and the Attorney General before responding to a disclosure request from an Internet-restricting country. Authorizes the Attorney General to prohibit a business from complying with the request, except for legitimate foreign law enforcement purposes.
Requires U.S. businesses to report to the OGIF certain Internet censorship information involving Internet-restricting countries.
Prohibits U.S. businesses that maintain Internet content hosting services from jamming U.S.-supported websites or U.S.-supported content in Internet-restricting countries.
Authorizes the President to waive provisions of this Act: (1) to further the purposes of this Act; (2) if a country ceases restrictive activity; or (3) if it is the national interest of the United States.