Eight New York residents have sued Baidu and the People’s Republic of China for censorship.
The lawsuit claims that the Chinese, along with Baidu, violated the US Constitution.
Filed in the US District Court in Manhattan, the complaint says that Baidu acts as an “enforcer” of policies by the ruling Communist Party in censoring pro-democratic content.
The complainants argue that the Chinese are subject to US law because censorship affects searches carried out in the Land of the Free.
It will be interesting to see if the US can try to enforce its laws outside its own boundaries. Or how it will try to collect any damages if it does.
Stephen Preziosi, the lawyer for the plaintiffs, told Reuters that the case claims a private company is acting as the arm and agent of a foreign state to suppress political speech.
Preziosi also argues that it permeates U.S. borders to violate the First Amendment.
The lawsuit plaintiffs want $16 million in damages, or $2 million per plaintiff.
However, it does not require Baidu to change its policies, apparently that would be unreasonable.