The San Francisco Chronicle offers an early look at the voluntary guidelines written by companies such as Google, Yahoo and Microsoft for operating in countries that censor speech.
The three companies came out bruised in previous run-ins in China and elsewhere when authorities ordered them to censor material or identify alleged offenders. The companies don't want to abandon potentially lucrative markets, nor be assailed in the media, let alone be hampered by some sort of U.S. regulation unless they regulate themselves.
Among the guidelines: Rather than blindly following officials' orders, comply with local law, but find the narrowest possible interpretation of the order.
Critics say the code of conduct, to be released next week, won't stop companies' worst behavior.