Feeds

YaGoogleSoft! adopt voluntary 'code of ethics'

No more grassing up Chinese dissidents?

Build a business case: developing custom apps

The US's Center for Democracy & Technology has announced that after two years of negotiations, Google, Yahoo! and Microsoft will in the next few days adopt a voluntary code of ethics "intended to safeguard online freedom of speech around the world".

The big three joined the initiative early last year and promised to work towards "a set of principles guiding company behaviour when faced with laws, regulations and policies that interfere with the achievement of human rights".

Yahoo! has in the past demonstrated it could use a bit of guidance, notably in China. In 2005, the company copped a righteous amount of flak for "assisting" the communist powers that be in tracking down and subsequently jailing "dissident" Shi Tao - a data-coughing incident which caused the company much embarrassment and earned it a rap on the knuckles from the US Congress.

Google, meanwhile, has been criticised for offering Google.cn which fails to index touchy local subjects such as the the Falun Gong sect or Tiananmen Square lest they offend the delicate sensibilities of the lucrative Chinese market's masters.

Back in August, Google, Microsoft and Yahoo! wrote to two concerned US senators insiting the move towards the new code of conduct was proceeding apace-ish.

Google declared: "Promoting freedom of expression and privacy for users in the United States and around the world is a top priority for Google. As a company that aspires to bring the democratizing power of the internet to individuals in every corner of every county in the world, Google helped initiate the principles process to strengthen the internet's collective hand vis-a-vis restrictive and repressive regimes."

Quite what that means in practice remains to be seen, although we doubt that either empty rhetoric or an unenforceable "code of ethics" will provoke more than a wry smile in Beijing as China opens its fat chequebook in front of companies eager to get their snouts in the trough. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
The police are WRONG: Watching YouTube videos is NOT illegal
And our man Corfield is pretty bloody cross about it
China hopes home-grown OS will oust Microsoft
Doesn't much like Apple or Google, either
Super Cali signs a kill-switch, campaigners say it's atrocious
Remote-death button bad news for crooks, protesters – and great news for hackers?
UK government accused of hiding TRUTH about Universal Credit fiasco
'Reset rating keeps secrets on one-dole-to-rule-them-all plan', say MPs
Fast And Furious 6 cammer thrown in slammer for nearly three years
Man jailed for dodgy cinema recording of Hollywood movie
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt
Defeat to Raytheon branded 'catastrophic result'
Don't even THINK about copyright violation, says Indian state
Pre-emptive arrest for pirates in Karnataka
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.
Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Scale data protection with your virtual environment
To scale at the rate of virtualization growth, data protection solutions need to adopt new capabilities and simplify current features.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?