Google, Yahoo and Microsoft have approached US Congress with solutions for bringing human rights laws to the internet.
The three companies have described how human rights can be extended to the internet and what companies can do to spread those laws.
The code would centre around a set of basic principles to which companies would be required to adhere, along with guidelines on how those rights would be assured and frameworks for how to enforce the rules and ensure accountability.
The reports were issued in response to inquiries sent to each of the companies by US senator Richard Durbin in July. The senator asked each of the firms to provide suggestions for a human rights code for corporations.
The code is designed as a way for tech companies to work with governments in the US and abroad, while still respecting human rights and preventing information from being used to violate rights.
The subject is of special importance to Yahoo which is still trying to recover from an embarrassing incident regarding one of its Chinese branches.
The Chinese office provided the authoriries with user information that was used by the government to track down and jail dissident bloggers.
The incident drew sharp criticism of Yahoo from human rights groups and eventually led to executives being called before Congress and scolded for their role in the incident.
Yahoo general counsel Michael Samway acknowledged in a blog posting that the incident is still on Yahoo's mind, but that a larger picture is also being addressed.
"We have all worked carefully in crafting the principles, implementation guidelines and accountability and learning frameworks to be sure this is not a code pointing at or strictly about China," wrote Samway.
"This is much broader, as it should be. We are in agreement across companies and human rights organisations that this initiative will be global in scope."
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