Major technology companies, including Google, Yahoo! and Microsoft, have agreed, in principle, to a voluntary set of principles designed to guide businesses when they encounter laws and practices that may contravene international human rights standards or be at odds with law or culture in their home jurisdiction.
The objective is to protect and advance freedom of expression and privacy. Included in this initiative are mechanisms to provide for ongoing learning as well as the monitoring of compliance. It must be remembered that the catch here is that this agreement and these principles are not an end point but a starting point.
The three major companies Google, Yahoo & Microsoft sent a letter to Senator Durbin and Senator Coburn in response to the US senate hearing on Global Internet Freedom: Corporate Responsibility and the Rule of Law held in May. In their letter they all have assured the senate committee on reaching a mutual understanding on best practices in line with Internet Freedom with responsibility. This bascially emerged from extensive discussion held by the Center for Democracy and Technology and Business for Social Responsibility and other organizations to finally draft a policy in this regard.
This is most definitely a very positive step in helping come to terms with what is the limitations on freespeech while simultanesloy weighing in civil responsibility, the local culture and the governmental insistence all in the same breath. One must defitnely applaud this effort and then in turn hope that Pakistan’s Ministry of IT & the PTA, the regualtory body in Pakistan decipher this document and attempt to understand their own limits of free speech to maybe draft one of their own hopign to embrace a clear cut guideline
Links: Nart Villeneuve