From USA TODAY:
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Tuesday launched a task force to counter efforts by other nations that use U.S. technologies to block the free flow of information across the Internet.
That came on the eve of a congressional hearing Wednesday on Internet companies — including Google, Yahoo and Microsoft — that cooperate with China’s government in censoring or handing over information government officials deem objectionable.
Rice’s office said it would study a bill Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., is drafting to force companies to move computer servers out of China. That would limit governments’ ability to ferret out of servers such personal data as e-mail addresses, which can identify dissidents. “We think this is a serious area of concern,” Josette Shiner, undersecretary for economic, business and agricultural affairs, told a news conference.
Internet companies are expanding deeper into China’s fast-growing economy, and they are seeking White House help in navigating the crosscurrents of foreign policy and commerce. Yahoo, for one, says, “Private industry alone cannot effectively influence foreign government policies on issues like the free exchange of ideas.”