Google and other technology firms -- presumably Yahoo, Microsoft and Cisco -- are discussing an industry-wide code of principles that would govern American companies in China, Peter Norvig, Google's director of research, told a Silicon Valley meeting Monday, the San Jose Mercury News reports.
Norvig suggested the company was open to both an industry-generated code of principles as well as government intervention.
"We feel that the U.S. government can stand up and make stronger laws, and we feel that corporate America can get together and have stronger principles,'' he said during the seminar. "We're supporting efforts on both those fronts. We feel we can't do it alone.''
Norvig also revealed that Google's censorship of google.cn had created huge discussion within the company.
After ``resisting from 1998 until last month'' to enter China, Google made the decision to operate a Chinese search engine. But the company decided to not offer services such as blogging and e-mail from China because ``we didn't want to be in a position to hand over users' information,'' Norvig said in his presentation.
There's still dissent within the company, Norvig told a Mercury News reporter after the seminar. ``People are still discussing it, on e-mail and getting together.''
He still defended the company's move, saying, in essence, a lot of information in better than no information.
``Yes, it's important to get information about democracy and Falun Gong,'' he said, referring to the spiritual movement banned by the Chinese government. ``They also want to know about outbreaks of bird flu. We thought it was more important to give them this information that they can use even if we have to compromise.''