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Human Rights Online: Tech Companies Adopt Conduct Code

Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft are set to adopt voluntary and uniform guidelines to govern their international business practices, this week. These Internet companies have struggled to find acceptable means to deal with countries like China, which silence the voice of dissidents on the Internet, and block certain websites. China has used emails sent by dissidents as evidence to put them behind bars.

Part of the code of conduct will require the companies to carefully scrutinize a government's demand for information about users, or government requests for nationwide censorship. The rules, generated by teams from the tech companies, public interest groups, academics, and socially conscious investment funds, weren't just created in the name of human rights — they're also designed to counter bad publicity surrounding tech company compliance with repressive governments.

Should international companies stay true to their hometown freedoms, or should they expect to play by the rules of all the countries where they do business?


Join The Conversation
Jude-C Jude-C 8 years
You want to do business in a foreign country, you play by that country's rules. End of story. I mean, honestly--what if foreign companies came here and insisted on acting as if they're still in their home country, even when those actions put them in direct conflict with our laws?
MarinerMandy MarinerMandy 8 years
Google blacklists domain names of porn sites. That infringes on my right to search for porn on the internet. But on a serious note, I think they just shouldn't do business with these countries if they can't operate the way they want to.
Marni7 Marni7 8 years
I majored in International Business and will eventually go to Law school for International Human Rights so this is interesting to me..I do believe that it is not the place of Google or other companies to impose their laws on other countries..just like if you are conducting business with a country and you are selling a product that is outlawed there, you will be at fault. I understand the anger when dealing with a country that infringes on the rights of their citizens but its best to not do business with them at all then.
HeidiMD HeidiMD 8 years
As unpleasant and plain wrong as it is to regard these extreme censorship laws, it is not the place of Google and other companies to decide what laws in a country are right or wrong.
Jessiebanana Jessiebanana 8 years
If you want their money, you have to play by their rules. If you are that morally opposed to the country's policies and practices then don't do business with them, it's simple :coffee:.
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