WTO Ramifications of Internet Censorship: the Google-China Controversy
Ritika Patni & Nihal Joseph*
Volume 3 Issue 3 (2010)
On January 12, 2010, Google threatened to quit China over internet censorship demands. The incident was triggered by a ‘highly sophisticated’ cyber attack that was allegedly launched by the Chinese government on Google’s website. This controversy has unleashed a raging debate on the issue of internet freedom versus regulation of internet by states. Another interesting dimension of this hotly contested issue is whether censorship of the internet is in violation of the norms of international trade law. In light of the Google-China controversy, this paper seeks to examine the potential and implications of a WTO dispute against China that would challenge its internet censorship regime and also aims to simultaneously look into the viable alternatives to a WTO challenge.