Google, Yahoo And Microsoft Adopt Human Rights Rules

Promise to protect user privacy

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Google, Microsoft and Yahoo are set to adopt a new set of guidelines on how to do business in countries that restrict free speech and expression.

Google, Yahoo And Microsoft Adopt Human Rights Rules

The guidelines are designed to protect users in other countries who express opinions online that their government does not agree with. Internet companies have pledged to protect users personal information where they do business by reducing compliance with governments requests for data when it violates free speech and human rights.

The new guidelines are part of an effort called the Global Network Initiative, that was created after human rights groups and Congress criticized Internet companies for cooperating with Chinese government censorship and demands for information on dissidents.

"This is an important first step in providing standards for free expression and privacy that obligate companies to do more to challenge government restrictions," Michael Posner, president of Human Rights First, told the NYT. "It sets up an accountability mechanism that will allow each of the companies to be evaluated over time."

The guidelines have the backing of human rights groups, including the Committee to Protect Journalists, Human Rights Watch and Human Rights in China. Business for Social Responsibility and the Center for Democracy and Technology helped with the two-year talks.


Google, Yahoo And Microsoft Adopt Human Rights Rules
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