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Yahoo Business & Human Rights Program Begins

Makes Ents look hasty

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Yahoo’s been the subject of lawsuits, public criticism, and the well-known "moral pygmy" comment due to its human rights policies.  The launch of a Business & Human Rights Program represents the company’s latest less-than-remarkable response to all this.

Yahoo & Human Rights
 Yahoo Launches Business & Human Rights Program

On the Yodel Anecdotal blog, Michael Samway, Yahoo’s VP and Deputy General Counsel, stated, "[W]e hope to help define ourselves as an industry leader in this important field."  He then did a bit of buck-passing by continuing, "While the root causes of these [free expression and privacy] threats clearly lie with governments, we also know corporations have important obligations in the field of human rights."

Other parts of the announcement were equally unimpressive.  Yahoo deserves credit for establishing educational funds and the Yahoo Human Rights Fund in the past, but this new program looks to be little more than a thought exercise.

"We’ll constantly review the intersection points of our business with potential human rights issues and ensure risks are routed to the right teams," wrote Samway.  "We’re committed to exploring risks to freedom of expression and privacy in challenging markets, engaging with external stakeholders, and designing risk mitigation strategies. . . .  We also believe in designing an effective system to assess our own performance in meeting our overall goals and our operational steps relating to human rights issues."

Still, Samway briefly mentioned "practical steps," and at least this development proves Yahoo hasn’t forgotten about human rights issues.  The company should have more chances to demonstrate its commitment as the start of the Olympics nears.

Yahoo Business & Human Rights Program Begins
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