Should U.S. companies be legally bound to a code of conduct when doing business in places like China? The question will be debated at a hearing Wednesday in the other Washington. Executives from Microsoft, Google, Yahoo! and Cisco Systems are among the witnesses, along with human rights activists and members of the U.S. State Department.
Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., who is convening the meeting, says it's the first time a hearing in the House will be covered live by blogs. Apparently the aging room now has wireless connectivity, according to Smith's office. Tech Tracks will be among those posting news live from our reporter at the hearing. View the Web broadcast here.
Smith had some harsh words for U.S. Internet companies that have complied with Chinese government censorship demands, saying they have essentially become "a megaphone for Communist propaganda and a tool for controlling public opinion."
Microsoft and Google have said they might favor some form of new Internet industry guidelines for doing business in countries with such restrictions. If they don't, some lawmakers might be angry enough to impose them.