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Google, Microsoft and Yahoo Provide Statements to Congressional Caucus Regarding China Related Issues

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Danny blogged yesterday that Google and Microsoft were not going to send representatives to appear at a US Congressional Human Rights Caucus briefing taking place today in D.C. where human rights and the Internet in China will be discussed. However, all three companies have sent statements to the caucus. Google's statement is now posted on the Google Blog and a Microsoft/Yahoo joint statement is linked to in the postscript below.

The Google statement covers the following topics:
+ Google.cn in China
+ Improved Disclosure to Users of Google.cn
+ Targeting of Services on Google.cn
+ Local Investment and Innovation

It also talks about "next steps" the company plans on taking that include:
+ Expanded Dialogue and Outreach
+ Voluntary Industry Action
+ Government-to-Government Dialogue

The official agenda and speaker list for the hearing is posted and I would expect to find links to other statements and remarks here or here soon.

Postscript 1: Yahoo and Microsoft submitted a joint statement to the caucus. Silicon Valley Watcher offers access to the full text.

From the Yahoo/Microsoft statement:

We urge the United States government to take a leadership role in this regard and have initiated a dialogue with relevant U.S. officials to encourage such government-to-government engagement.

We want to assure members of the Congressional Human Rights Caucus, and the public at large, that we do not consider the Internet situation in China to be one of ?business-as usual?. Beyond commercial considerations, we believe that our services have promoted personal expression and enabled far wider access to independent sources of information for hundreds of millions of individuals in China and elsewhere in the world.

Postscript 2:
Bill Gates also discussed net censorship in a forum held in Lisbon on Wednesday. AP coverage here.
From the article:

Microsoft Corp. Chairman Bill Gates said Wednesday that attempts by governments to censor Web site contents were doomed, because banned information can seep out despite official injunctions. "The ability to really withhold information no longer exists," Gates told a government forum on the Internet. Gates said his company must comply with legal requirements in the countries where it operates.


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