Search Engines in the House

February 14, 2006

Topics: Blogging.

The controversy over internet censorship in China continues to build today as representatives of Yahoo, Google, Microsoft and Cisco are questioned by the House Subcommittee on Africa, Global Human Rights and International Operations. Many organizations, including members of the House of Representatives, have condemned these enabling behaviors as practices in violation of United States principles.

The chairman of the Subcommittee, Representative Christopher H. Smith (R, New Jersey) is involved in the creation of a bill to restrict Internet companies from the practice of censoring or filtering basic political or religious terms. Such a bill would explicitly place firms at odds with the current laws in China.

Many of these companies have stated their belief that it is the responsibility of the government to promote human rights abroad – and this reaction from the House indicates their agreement, although not to the benefit of the search companies.

Amnesty International has released a statement to the press calling on high-tech companies to cease internet censorship.

Also on this issue, John Battelle of Batellemedia posted a very interesting rant on Monday concerning this question of Government involvement and the parallels between China’s invasive security and President Bush’s similarly questionable domestic spying program.

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