Google representatives have been vocal about the company's decision to stop censoring its Chinese servers for awhile now, but members of Congress want other U.S. Internet companies to follow suit -- in China and anywhere else in the world where human rights are not upheld.
In a hearing in the Senate Subcommittee on Human Rights and the Law, Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., accused many of the country's large Internet companies of "being unwilling to engage with Congress in a dialogue on human rights challenges," according to CNN.com. Durbin noted that Facebook, Twitter, McAfee and 26 other companies tech-sector companies invited to participate did not respond.
Google did participate. VP Nicole Wong testified before the subcommittee. Among other things, Wong told lawmakers that the number of countries using the Internet to repress human rights has increased substantially - "from a handful in 2002 to more than 40 today." Since a lot of that repression is done via U.S. companies, says Sen. Ted Kaufman, D-Del., U.S. companies should take a stand against the censors.
Microsoft, Yahoo and Google have formed an Anti-Censorship Coalition, ZDNet reports, but until the others step up to the plate, Durbin says he is prepared to impose criminal fines on U.S. companies that fail to uphold human rights abroad. He says:
I will introduce legislation that will require Internet companies to take reasonable steps to protect human rights, or face civil and criminal liability.