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Internet Companies Agree on China Code of Conduct

By Reuters -  |  Posted 2008-08-05 Print this article Print

Microsoft, Google and other Internet-based companies have been in discussions with human rights groups and have reached an agreement on a code of conduct for Internet activities in China and other countries where Internet usage is closely controlled and monitored.

(Reuters) - U.S. technology giants Microsoft Corp, Google Inc and Yahoo Inc, in talks with other Internet companies and human-rights groups, have reached an agreement on a voluntary code of conduct for activities in China and other restrictive countries, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday.

In separate letters sent to Democratic Senator Richard Durbin, and Republican Senator Tom Coburn, the companies said the code's details were being worked out, the paper reported.

Senators Durbin and Coburn had asked for an update out of concern that without such a code, Internet companies could be pressured by China's government to provide information about Internet users who are in China for the Olympics, the paper said.

Google, Yahoo and Microsoft did not immediately return calls seeking comment. The voluntary code will spell out "principles of freedom of expression and privacy" in countries where governments seek users' private information or block access to certain websites, the paper said, citing the letters.

The code will be completed later this year, the paper reported.

(Reporting by Tenzin Pema in Bangalore, editing by Will Waterman)

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