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Google executive explains plans for change to -

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ELEANOR HALL: A senior executive at the Internet giant, Google, told a US committee today that the
company has not yet set a date to end its censorship of web search results within China.

Google vowed to do this several weeks ago in response to a series of cyber attacks that it said
were orchestrated from China.

A Democrat Senator says the Chinese hacking case illustrates one of the challenges posed by new
technology and he says he will now introduce legislation to require US Internet companies to
protect human rights.

Washington correspondent Kim Landers has our report.

KIM LANDERS: Google's decision to no longer censor its Chinese search engine came after the
Internet giant was hit by a cyber attack originating in China.

Today Google's vice president Nicole Wong has told a congressional hearing on "Global Internet
Freedom and the Rule of Law" that there's no date for the change.

NICOLE WONG: We don't have a specific timetable. We are, having said that, we are firm in our
decision that we will not censor our search results in China and we are working toward that end.

KIM LANDERS: Nicole Wong says the decision to stop the censorship of Google's results in China
wasn't easy, but it's the "right" one.

But she says Google has to consider its many employees in China as it reviews how to implement the
decision.

NICOLE WONG: We recognise both the seriousness and the sensitivity of the decision we are making
and we want to figure out a way to get to that end of stopping censoring our search results in a
way that is appropriate and responsible.

KIM LANDERS: Nicole Wong says it's not just China which blocks search results.

She says more than 25 governments have blocked Google services over the past few years, that
YouTube has been blocked in 13 countries and that Google blogging platforms have been blocked in
seven countries.

But there's also concern that US technology companies, including social networking sites, are
helping some countries repress freedom of expression.

Omid Memarian is an Iranian blogger.

OMID MEMARIAN: There are many rumours in Iran that Yahoo and Facebook have made a deal with Iranian
Government and eventually they will give them the information of the users. And the rumours are so
strong in a way that some people have removed their profiles from Facebook because of the threat
that they feel.

KIM LANDERS: Democratic Senator Dick Durbin, heads the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on human
rights and the law.

DICK DURBIN: However repressive governments can use these same tools to monitor and crack down on
advocates. I invited Facebook and Twitter to testify today, they refused.

KIM LANDERS: Senator Durbin says with a few exceptions, the technology industry is refusing to
acknowledge the human rights challenges it's facing nor is it willing to engage in a conversation
with Congress about it.

He's highlighted China's now revoked decision to require all computers sold in that country to
include censorship software.

DICK DURBIN: This incident highlighted the human rights challenges faced by computer manufacturers.
I invited Hewlett Packard and Apple to testify about these challenges today and they also refused.

KIM LANDERS: Dick Durbin is now planning legislation to impose human rights obligations on American
technology companies.

DICK DURBIN: Today I'm announcing I will introduce legislation that would require the Internet
companies to take reasonable steps to protect human rights or face civil or criminal liability.

KIM LANDERS: Rebecca MacKinnon is a visiting fellow at the Centre for Information Technology Policy
at Princeton University.

She's backing the idea of legislation.

REBECCA MACKINNON: Law may be needed to induce corporate responsibility if companies fail to take
voluntary action. Meanwhile, however, I recommend some immediate steps. It should be made easier
for victims to take action in a US court of law when companies assist regimes in violating their
universally recognised rights.

KIM LANDERS: Meanwhile Google executive Nicole Wong says the company is still investigating the
hacking attack that came from China.

This is Kim Landers in Washington for The World Today.