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US Congress Expresses Disgust with US Tech Firms Relations with China

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“I do not understand how your corporate leadership sleeps at night,” said California Democratic Representative Tom Lantos, addressing executives of the major search engines earlier today.

Lantos sits on a joint House/Senate committee examining the dealings US tech firms have with the Government of China. New Jersey Republican Representative, Christopher H. Smith, who labelled the relationships between Google, Cisco, Yahoo and Microsoft and the Chinese Government as “sickening collaborations”, echoed Lantos’ comments, railing on the firms for “decapitating the voice of dissents” there.

Smith’s comments opened a series of hearings that are being watched by many concerned about Internet censorship and human rights in China. In order to do business in China, tech firms are expected to conform to Chinese laws, many of which repress freedom of speech and information.

Smith, who chairs the committee said he intends to introduce a bill, labelled the “Global Online Freedom Act”, that would make many of the actions the tech firms have taken to comply with Chinese law, illegal for US companies. According to the New York Times , the act would, “…establish standards for Internet companies operating abroad. In addition to prohibiting companies from filtering out certain political or religious terms, it would require them to disclose to users any sort of filtering they undertake.”

On Tuesday, the US State Department announced the formation of the Global Internet Freedom Task Force, responsible for reviewing efforts by non-US governments, “to restrict access to political content and the impact of such censorship efforts on U.S. companies.”

Of all the firms questioned by the committee today, Google and Yahoo have received the greatest attention in the tech community and the mainstream media. In response to the committee, Google’s VP of Global Communications and Public Affairs presented eight pages of testimony, a copy of which can be found here .

Jim Hedger is the SEO Manager of StepForth Search Engine Placement Inc. Based in Victoria, BC, Canada, StepForth is the result of the consolidation of BraveArt Website Management, Promotion Experts, and Phoenix Creative Works, and has provided professional search engine placement and management services since 1997. http://www.stepforth.com/ Tel – 250-385-1190 Toll Free – 877-385-5526 Fax – 250-385-1198

US Congress Expresses Disgust with US Tech Firms Relations with China
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About Jim Hedger
Jim Hedger works with Metamend Search Engine Marketing as a SEO Consultant, lead copywriter and head blog writer. Jim has been involved in the SEO field since the days of the dinosaurs and felt he had lost a personal friend when Disney went "ol' Yeller" on Infoseek. Over the course of his career, Jim has gotten drunk with Jeeves the Butler, tossed sticks to that sock-puppet dog from Pets.com and come out of a staring contest with Googlebot confidently declaring a tie. When not traveling between conferences, Jim lives with a perpetually annoyed cat named Hypertext in the Pacific techno-outport of Victoria British Columbia. WebProNews Writer
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