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Word Count: 446
The case of three anti-racism associations versus Yahoo Inc and its French subsidiary Yahoo France about the sell of Nazis objects on a website hosted by Yahoo raises the question of the consequences of globalisation of information on freedom of expression It thus transcends current debate on the responsibility of Internet technical service providers for the content of the sites they host Is it acceptable for each State to subject its own Net users to the limits set by its laws be they liberticidal or on the contrary should this be seen as an opportunity afforded by the open and universal nature of the Web to prevent States from impeding the free flow of information Is it at all desirable to allow access providers the means to monitor the content of the sites they host to decide what is consultable or not and to collect information on their customers in order to identify them even in the name of a professional ethic The issue here is not one of rather naively defending big groups that like a general-interest portal such as Yahoo might take advantage of Net users attachment to freedom of expression in order to conquer new market shares We needed only to see how zealously Jerry Yangs company adjusted to the straitjacket imposed on it by the Chinese authorities for example to dampen any illusions as to their real attachment to the fight against censorship But it would be a great pity if in the name of a just cause the fight against sites which to use the expression of the judge dealing with the Yahoo case are an insult to the collective memory of the country we provided arguments weapons and a justification for repressive regimes that from China to Tunisia or Burma want above all to bar their people from access to any unauthorised information Globalisation of information the fruit of new communication technologies forces us to question the
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