Fitting in with the internet theme of the proceedings, Lantos invoked Godwin's Law and compared the companies' compliance with the Chinese government with IBM's compliance with Nazi Germany in World War II. (Link to editorial by Edwin Black on CNet News). Almost as crass was Lantos' comment to Google's representative, "I'm asking you a direct question -- I don't want your philosophy."

To us in the labs, it's clear that this wasn't a genuine hearing; this was a case of political grandstanding, a chance for Lantos to publicly state his philosophy. The companies' motivations for their decision was irrelevant, as their only role in the proceedings was to act as scapegoats for a totalitarian regime.

We've already seen the real ramifications of total complicity with the Chinese government, as Yahoo's ethics have come into question for its role in the imprisonment of Chinese journalist Shi Tao. (Amnesty International also provides Yahoo's official response to that incident). It's clear that a company's stated philosophy of providing a service to people can be undermined by the actions of those people's government. But at what point does the speech-making stop and a true plan of action start?

The Tech Labs prove that we have no sense of decency, after the jump