Microsoft, Yahoo!, Google, Cisco and others have been getting a lot of heat over the past year for colluding with human rights violations and state censorship in countries like China. Fortunately, three of those four companies have found the wherewithal to do more than just duck and cover.
A couple of months ago I alluded to a set of closed-door discussions that have been going on over the past year. Today this press release issued by Business for Social Responsibility has finally brought those quiet conversations out of the closet.
Google, Yahoo!, Microsoft and Vodaphone are now committed publicly to a process “which aims to produce a set of principles guiding company behavior when faced with laws, regulations and policies that interfere with the achievement of human rights.” As BSR’s CEO Aron Cramer put it: “This important dialogue reflects a shared commitment to maximize the information available via the internet on the basis of global principles protecting free expression and privacy.”[Full Text]