Monday, February 13, 2006

MSN, YAHOO, GOOGLE AND CISCO FACE CONGRESS

A great story from Stewie (of Political Dodos fame), posted in the comments:
The internet's biggest companies will come under unprecedented grilling in Congress this week for joining hands with China to censor the Internet, despite the proud American tradition of free speech.

Microsoft, Google, Yahoo and Cisco Systems have all agreed to appear on Wednesday before a House of Representatives human rights panel, which summoned them following public outcry over their compliance with Beijing.

By complying with China's demand for censorship in order to enter the booming Chinese market, some of the top American Internet firms in essence have become "a megaphone for communist propaganda and a tool for controlling public opinion," said Chris Smith, who will co-chair the hearing.

The Republican Representative from New Jersey, who heads the House subcommittee on global human rights and international operations, is drafting legislation imposing curbs on Internet companies seeking to expand into China.

"I think a lot of members will be supportive of the legislation," Smith's spokesman Brad Dayspring said.

Some lawmakers accused the American firms of helping Beijing build the "Great Firewall of China."

"Our message to the Chinese is, 'When you build a wall to oppress your people, can we sell you some bricks?"' said Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, who introduced legislation last week to downgrade US trade ties with China.
Quite. And funny how it's a bunch of Republicans, supposedly keen on making a buck at any price, who are up in arms over this.

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