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Internet giants agree on China code of conduct

U.S. technology giants Microsoft, Google and Yahoo, 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.
/ Source: Reuters

U.S. technology giants Microsoft Google and Yahoo, 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.

(Msnbc.com is a joint venture of Microsoft and NBC Universal.)

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.