Monday, January 30, 2006

US Internet companies snub Congressional hearing

I found this article on Drudge and Breitbart> I think there are a lot of very disturbing points in it.

US Internet companies snub Congressional hearing
Jan 28 9:49 PM US/Eastern
The leading US-based Internet companies are showing little interest in attending a Congressional briefing on worries that the firms are bending to the wishes of China's censors.
Microsoft and Cisco Systems have refused to attend the event, while Google and Yahoo are non-committal, officials said. None of them should show up.
The firms were asked to attend the February 1 briefing by the Congressional Human Rights Caucus following uproar caused by search giant Google's decision last week to censor websites and content banned by China's propaganda chiefs. Notice how this is called a briefing when in fact it is more of a witch hunt to try and give the congress an avenue to implement control and regulation on the internet.
"We have heard from Microsoft that no representative from the company will attend the briefing. So, with Cisco Systems, this makes two companies that have confirmed they're opting out," Lynne Weil, spokeswoman for caucus co-chairman Democratic Representative Tom Lantos, told AFP.
As the briefing date gets closer, "others are still unfortunately keeping us in suspense," she said. "It is mystifying why these companies would not want to take part after all this is an opportunity to clear their names," Weil said. Now that statement should scare the hell out of everyone. "After all it's an opportunity to clear their names" Clear their names of what and for what purpose? That implies a lot, it implies that some sort of penalty is about to be implied on companies that are trying to obey the laws of host countries.
Google agreed to censor websites and content in its search service launched Wednesday in China. Just as our country wants it to comply with our laws regarding kiddy porn.
The move followed similar actions by rivals Microsoft and Yahoo in cooperating with Chinese censorship.
Cisco's technology-savvy machinery allegedly censors Internet messages and helps Beijing track down Chinese cyber dissidents. In other words they turn information over to a host countries government that is requested. Once again in the same manner that they turn information over to our government on porn.
Americans believed Internet growth will bring about greater freedom of expression and political openness in China but instead of promoting these values, some US firms have been charged with aiding -- or at least complying -- with Chinese Internet censorship, said a statement by the Congressional Human Rights Caucus. It's called following the law so your product can be used in a host country.
Its briefing is scheduled to be chaired by Democratic Representative Tim Ryan, lead sponsor of a bipartisan legislation seeking to address China's "manipulation and undervaluation" of its currency. What does this issue have to do with the manipulation of currency?
Weil said all five non-governmental groups invited to the briefing had confirmed participation. They were media watchdog Reporters without Borders, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Toronto University and Harvard Law School. A finer list of wackjobs would be hard to find.
"It is a sham that the American Internet firms are refusing to be accountable to US Congress and at the same time working hand in glove with the Chinese authorities," said T. Kumar, Amnesty's advocacy director for Asia. Anything Amnesty International is for should be looked at very closely. This group in the last year has made statements that the US was worse on human rights than Russia and compared the detaining of terrorists to the Russian gulags.
"It is also a paradox that while US multinational companies are for example prohibited from doing any business or trade with Myanmar following human rights sanctions there, Google and others are colluding with the Chinese government in human rights abuses," he charged.
Kumar called the US Congress to enact laws preventing American firms from joining any state-sponsored stifling of human rights to give credence to US foreign policy.
Amnesty is treating as "prisoner of conscience" a Chinese journalist jailed last year by Beijing following information provided by search engine Yahoo under court order, he said. OK so AI wants what the complete denial of all internet access in China? Are they also going to hold as prisoners of conscience anyone jailed in the US for looking at the wrong type of porn?
Google and other US Internet companies have also been invited for another Congressional meeting on February 15, convened by the House of Representatives Subcommittee on Africa, Global Human Rights and International Operations.
Chris Smith, the Republican Representative chairing the panel, is considering legislation requiring Internet companies to locate e-mail servers outside "repressive countries," his spokesman Brad Dayspring said. What would Rep. Smith think if these companies put all their servers in countries outside the US also to prevent our Government from getting the information it wants?
Also being considered is legislation to prohibit the export of Internet technology to countries restricting free speech, and to establish a government office solely to counter Internet jamming by these countries, he said. They would be better off spending their time preventing the spread of Nuclear technology information, or missile information as it was spread under Clinton.
Google's Chinese site restricts locals from searching for information about Tibetan independence, the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre, the banned spiritual sect "Falungong," and Taiwan.
"If you search Tiananmen Square on the, you get these colorful pictures of a place that looks like Disneyland but if you search for Tiananmen Square, you will find the pretty pictures but will see the real story of the government led slaughter as well," Dayspring said.
"The story of the students who stood up to their government and were consequently slaughtered should not be erased from history as Google has empowered the Chinese government to do," he added.

It is not erasing it from history just as our government isn't going to erase different types of porn. This whole thing is congress trying desperately to control the internet. They want to control it, regulate it, and above all else tax it. Now don't get me wrong I think our government should lock up anybody that is indulging in certain types of porn. It is our law and as the host country we have the right to certain information from these companies. Regretfully so do the Chinese and the Russians and whatever other country that these companies are selling their product in. The fact that our government is demanding that these companies have to "clear their names" is ridiculous and should be shunned. If the companies are legislated to pull their servers out of any country they should also pull their servers out of this one. It also bothers me that China is suppressing free speech. The one Chinese Blogger that was shut down by the Chinese Government had a link on this site, and I was sad to lose it. However going after the IP companies is NOT the aproach to take. Taking away their favored nation status would be more appropriate.

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