Political Showdown: Tech Giants vs. US Government


Representatives from Google, Yahoo, MSN, and Cisco are in Capitol Hill today for a pivotal hearing before two U.S. congressional subcommittees on the issue of censorship in China. G, Y, and M have all come out in favor of legislation, although with some conditions. Red Herring reports on Bill Gates' stance:

He said he hopes politicians don’t overreach on legislation and they should understand that governments that restrict Internet freedoms are doomed to failure because it is not possible to block Internet information as a matter of policy.

Legislators should not regard Internet restrictions in the same way they do newspapers and TV, he added, because those two forms of media control the coverage and distribution of information, and there are definite choke points that make repression possible. The Internet is open and is not susceptible to “takedown orders.”

Today's hearings in Washington DC could result in important legal implications and precedence for regulation of digital information distribution.


This is important

The governemnt should not get too involved here or the backlash may be more than they expect.
Hiding behind Human Rights to mandate corporations to certain actions is a slippery slope. We went down that one during the House on unAmerican Activities in the 50s.

Search engine giants 'enabling dictatorship'

As reported in The Scotsman.

Key points
• Congress accuses Google, Yahoo! and Microsoft of aiding China's dictators
• Critics cite Yahoo! helping Chinese authorities jail dissident activist
• Firms argue better internet is censored in China than no-one has access

Key quote
"Never [in world history] have so many lines of communication in the hands of so many people been met with such obsessive resistance from a central authority" - Committee to Protect Journalists' survey


Seems perhaps Congress has

Seems perhaps Congress has its priorities confused when it comes to Human Rights Abuses.

Perhaps the US should make itself the model of human rights protections, before demanding it from others.

well said brian, couldnt

well said brian, couldnt agree more.

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