Apple, HP, Others Rebuked For Not Testifying Before Human Rights Committee

Last week, Senator Richard Durbin rebuked Apple, Hewlett-Packard, Facebook, Twitter, and McAfee for declining to send representatives to the second session of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on Human Rights and the Law, which supports free commercial and political use of the Internet in countries with authoritarian governments, including Venezuela, Iran, and China.

Mr. Durbin said: “The bottom line is this: with a few notable exceptions, the technology industry seems unwilling to regulate itself and unwilling even to engage in a dialogue with Congress about the serious human rights challenges the industry faces … Today I am announcing that I will introduce legislation that would require internet companies to take reasonable steps to protect human rights or face civil or criminal liability.”

According to ZDNet, Google, which has come under fire in the past for doing business in China, addressed the committee and confirmed that it no longer censors search engine results in that country. Nicole Wong, Google’s VP and deputy General Counsel, said: “Google is now the second most popular search engine in China, behind Baidu, and we were the first search engine in China to let users know when the results have been removed to comply with Chinese law … While our China revenues are still small in the context of our larger business, the last quarter of 2009 was our most successful quarter ever in China.”