Feeds

EU chief criticises net firms over China actions

Google, MS and Yahoo! slammed for double standards (again)

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

A senior European Union official has taken hi-tech firms to task for helping China suppress dissent. In an internet posting about corporate responsibility, EC vice president Margot Wallström criticised net giants such as Microsoft, Google and Yahoo! for being too willing to bend ethical guidelines where potential profits in new markets are at stake.

Wallström criticised Microsoft for blocking Chinese blog entries that use words such as "democracy", "freedom" and "human rights". She censured Google for blocking access to sites that the Chinese government finds objectionable. But she saved her sharpest criticism for Yahoo! for handing over the name of a journalist who had sent an email criticising the Chinese government. Based on this information, Shi Tao received a ten-year prison sentence in September over allegations that he had divulged state secrets, a decision roundly condemned by human rights organisations such as Reporters Without Borders at the time.

"Words like ethics and corporate social responsibility seems to be deleted from their corporate code of conducts – or they have flexible ethical standards depending on where they operate," Wallström said, adding that she intended to campaign on the issue in the hopes of encouraging hi-tech firms to adopt a consistent moral stance.

"I hope that these companies one day will understand that to endorse democracy and corporate responsibility is a prerequisite for 'smart' growth. From now on, this issue is also on my political agenda," she added.

Wallström rejected arguments from firms that they have to operate according to the laws and customs of overseas countries in which they trade. However respondents to her posting claimed that EU countries often sold weapons to China so its political representatives were in no position to take the moral high ground. Since 1989, the EU has had an embargo on arms sales to China.®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Sonos AXES support for Apple's iOS4 and 5
Want to use your iThing? You can't - it's too old
Amazon says Hachette should lower ebook prices, pay authors more
Oh yeah ... and a 30% cut for Amazon to seal the deal
Philip K Dick 'Nazi alternate reality' story to be made into TV series
Amazon Studios, Ridley Scott firm to produce The Man in the High Castle
Joe Average isn't worth $10 a year to Mark Zuckerberg
The Social Network deflates the PC resurgence with mobile-only usage prediction
Chips are down at Broadcom: Thousands of workers laid off
Cellphone baseband device biz shuttered
Feel free to BONK on the TUBE, says Transport for London
Plus: Almost NOBODY uses pay-by-bonk on buses - Visa
Twitch rich as Google flicks $1bn hitch switch, claims snitch
Gameplay streaming biz and search king refuse to deny fresh gobble rumors
Stick a 4K in them: Super high-res TVs are DONE
4,000 pixels is niche now... Don't say we didn't warn you
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.