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Wednesday, February 1, 2006

Google Responds to Human Rights Caucus

Google posted their response to the U.S. Congressional Human Rights Caucus briefing scheduled for today. While this text largely mirrors Andrew McLaughlin’s earlier post on this issue, the “Next Steps” go beyond that:

1. Expanded Dialogue and Outreach. For more than a year, Google has been actively engaged in discussion and debate about China with a wide range of individuals and organizations both inside and outside of China, including technologists, businesspeople, government officials, academic experts, writers, analysts, journalists, activists, and bloggers. We aim to expand these dialogues as our activities in China evolve, in order to improve our understanding, refine our approach, and operate with openness.

2. Voluntary Industry Action. Google supports the idea of Internet industry action to define common principles to guide technology firmsÂ’ practices in countries that restrict access to information. Together with colleagues at other leading Internet companies, we are actively exploring the potential for Internet industry guidelines, not only for China but for all countries in which Internet content is subjected to governmental restrictions. Such guidelines might encompass, for example, disclosure to users, and reporting about governmental restrictions and the measures taken in response to them.

3. Government-to-Government Dialogue. In addition to common action by Internet companies, there is an important role for the United States government to address, in the context of its bilateral government-to-government relationships, the larger issues of free expression and open communication. For example, as a U.S.-based company that deals primarily in information, we have urged the United States government to treat censorship as a barrier to trade.”

[Thanks Niraj Sanghvi.]


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