Baidu Sued for Helping With Chinese Internet Censorship
Baidu Inc., owner of China’s biggest search engine, was sued on Wednesday for conspiring with the Chinese regime to censor pro-democracy speech on the Internet.
In a lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court in Manhattan, eight Chinese residents in New York seek $16 million in damages from the company and the Chinese regime after their “writing, publications, and coverage of pro-democracy events” were banned from thesearch engine, according to Bloomberg News.
The complaint said that the defendants violate the U.S. Constitution because the censorship also affects search results in the United States. The plaintiffs, who are pro-democracy activists, also charge Baidu and the Chinese regime for violating New York State civil rights law.
“We allege a private company is acting as the arm and agent of a foreign state to suppress political speech, and permeate U.S. borders to violate the First Amendment,” Stephen Preziosi, the lawyer for the plaintiffs, told Reuters in an interview.
In China, search results for terms deemed sensitive by the Chinese regime are routinely filtered out and blocked. China also blocks social networking sites such as Facebook, Flickr, Google’s YouTube, and Twitter.