Extract from “White House’s Claims that the TPP Would Curb Internet Censorship are Fantasy”

If the Malaysian government began imposing blocking orders on U.S.-based companies, such as Twitter or Facebook, it’s feasible that once the TPP were to go into force that those companies could convince the U.S. government to bring a trade complaint under the free flow of information provisions to shield them from such an order. However, the Malaysian government could defend itself against such a claim by arguing that its censorship was “to achieve a legitimate public policy objective,” such as national security or the defense of public morals. The TPP allows this as an exception to the free flow rules. Even if such a claim were brought, it would be heard by international trade arbitrators, who are not human rights experts. So of course this would hardly be an appropriate venue for hearing global Internet censorship disputes.

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