Google, Microsoft, Yahoo Take On Free Speech Restrictions

    October 28, 2008

This is one of those posts where you get to tell me what opinion Marketing Pilgrim should take.

The WSJ is reporting that Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft have agreed to follow a common set of principles that will govern how they do business in countries that might restrict free speech.

Under the new principles, which were crafted over two years, the technology titans promise to protect the personal information of their users wherever they do business and to “narrowly interpret and implement government demands that compromise privacy,” according to the code. They also commit to scrutinizing a country’s track record of jeopardizing personal information and freedom of expression before launching new businesses in a country and to discussing the risks widely with their executives and board members.

The pact has the blessing of some groups–such as Human Rights First and Committee to Protect Journalists–but criticized for not going far enough by others–such as the World Organization for Human Rights USA.

So, which side are you on?

1. This is a great agreement and shows that these internet titans take our privacy and freedom of speech seriously. Or,

2. The wording is too loose and doesn’t actually prevent Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft from complying with the countries they operate in.

3. Something else on your mind?