WASHINGTON, Jan. 21 (UPI) -- Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and Vodafone Group are working on a policy for operating in countries like China where the government tries to censor the Internet.
The companies, all criticized for cooperating with the Chinese government, have been in discussions for the past year with human rights groups, the San Jose Mercury News reported. They announced an effort this week to form "principles guiding company behavior when faced with laws, regulations and policies that interfere with the achievement of human rights."
Google, Microsoft and Yahoo, all based in the United States, are under pressure from Congress, which held hearings last year. Yahoo has been criticized for giving the Chinese government information leading to the arrest of a resident.
A bill sponsored by Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., would penalize U.S. companies if they turn over personal information on users to governments or block access to U.S. government Web sites.
Vodafone is a British cell phone company.