Feeds

YaGoogleSoft! adopt voluntary 'code of ethics'

No more grassing up Chinese dissidents?

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

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. ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
The 'fun-nification' of computer education – good idea?
Compulsory code schools, luvvies love it, but what about Maths and Physics?
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
'Cowardly, venomous trolls' threatened with TWO-YEAR sentences for menacing posts
UK government: 'Taking a stand against a baying cyber-mob'
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.