On Wednesday, lawmakers grilled four U.S. tech firms on their business practices in China, alleging that they have embraced Chinese censorship in exchange for market access, the Associated Press reports via Yahoo News.
Microsoft, Yahoo, Cisco Systems and Google all defended their actions as a part of business, and asked the House International Relations subcommittee for guidance on how to do business in countries with challenging international censorship policies, the AP reports.
The hearing comes just one day after the U.S. Department of State announced that it had assembled a task force to help technology companies defend freedom of speech while doing business in countries that censor Web content. Read State Dept. Enters Censorship Debate for more.
According to the AP, Congressman Tom Lantos (D-Calif.) told the companies he was disgusted with their business practices.
“Your abhorrent actions in China are a disgrace,” Lantos said. “I simply don’t understand how your corporate leadership sleeps at night.”
As well as asking for guidance, the companies told the House subcommittee that the government should work to encourage International Internet freedom, the AP reports.
Yahoo representative Michael Callahan told the subcommittee that “these issues are larger than any one company, or any one industry.”
“We appeal to the U.S. government to do all it can to help us provide beneficial services to Chinese citizens lawfully and in a way consistent with our shared values,” he said.
For CIO’s recent coverage of the issue, read Firms Ask Gov’t to Stand Against Censorship, U.S. Lawmaker Battles Chinese Internet Censorship and Yahoo Will Address Internet Rights.
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