In an interesting development from Google’s new censored search results in China, Google and Yahoo have both been invited by Congress to speak. The Congressional panel will be looking at broader issues of freedom of speech and the Internet in China. It’s not clear what this entails, since the United States Congress obviously has limited ability to effect either companies behaviors outside of the US.
The first step will be a briefing on February 1st in which the Congressional Human Rights Caucus will question Google and Yahoo about what their measures to block the controlled information are and about the pressures they have received from the Chinese government.
Nobody knows yet what will happen – Microsoft and Cisco Systems were invited as well and have already declined to speak. Google and Yahoo have not yet responded officially.
We’ll certainly keep following up on this situation as it develops!