by CIO Staff

Firms Ask Gov’t to Stand Against Censorship

Feb 02, 20062 mins

In response to recent negative media coverage of their expanding business initiatives in China, Google, Microsoft and Yahoo have requested that the government intervene and take a stand against censorship, InformationWeek reports via Yahoo News.

Andrew McLaughlin, Google’s senior policy counsel, in a statement prepared for yesterday’s meeting of the Congressional Human Rights Caucus, asked the U.S. government to stand up for American values and to redefine free trade to include the free flow of information, the article said.

“[A]s a U.S.-based company that deals primarily in information, we have urged the United States government to treat censorship as a barrier to trade,” he said. “There is an important role for the United States government to address, in the context of its bilateral government-to-government relationships, the larger issues of free expression and open communication.”

Both Microsoft and Yahoo offered a similar joint statement to the caucus, requesting more active participation in censorship issues on the government’s part. “While we believe that companies have a responsibility to identify appropriate practices in each market in which they do business, we think there is a vital role for government-to-government discussion of the larger issues involved,” both companies said.

The co-chair of the caucus, Congressman Tom Lantos, doesn’t think the government needs to step in, Reuters reports. “These are companies with tremendous resources,” he said.

Though all three companies offered up statements to the caucus, none sent representatives.  For more on the Congressional Human Rights Caucus, and how Google, Microsoft and Yahoo were absent, read No Tech Firms at D.C./China Caucus.

For background on Microsoft and Google’s recent dealings in China, read Microsoft Shuts Down Chinese Blogger, Google Will Censor Chinese Web Searches and Google Defends Chinese Search Censorship.

And for more on Chinese Web censorship, check out U.S. Lawmaker Battles Chinese Internet Censorship.

-Al Sacco