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February 15, 2006

House Subcommittee Lashes Out At Tech Giants

The House Subcommittee on Africa, Global Human Rights and International Operations and the Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific held hearings today where representatives of Google, Microsoft, Yahoo!, and Cisco testified.  The hearings were based on reports of cooperating with the Chinese government that led to the jailing or censorship of dissidents.  The companies defended their cooperation with the government on the grounds that they have to cooperate with local laws in order to do business.

Yahoo! general counsel, Michael J. Callahan, noted that when the government had asked Yahoo! for information that led to the jailing of Shi Tao, they did not state their intentions. 

Most of the members of the subcommittee blasted the cooperation by these companies with what they see as a repressive regime.  Other critics from Amnesty International and Reporters Without Borders echoed those feelings, suggesting that industry self-regulation wasn't enough, that U.S. government oversight is also necessary.  Members of the panel indicated that congress would consider passing laws to address this situation.

The Washington Post has the story here.  CNET has a report with different details here.  The Subcommittee Pages are here and here.

February 15, 2006 | Permalink

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