Global Network Initiative - media coverage & responses (Oct 2008)
Global Network Initiative, a coalition of Internet companies, human rights NGOs and others, agreed to new guidelines in October 2008 "to respond to government censorship and threats to privacy".
Press release, 28 Oct 2008 - with statements by:
NGOs: Center for Democracy & Technology, Committee to Protect Journalists, Human Rights First, Human Rights Watch, World Press Freedom Committee
companies: Google, Microsoft, Yahoo!
academics: Berkman Center for Internet and Society - Harvard Univ., Deirdre Mulligan - Univ. of California-Berkeley School of Information
investors: Boston Common, Calvert, Domini, F&C, Trillium
Media coverage & responses include:
- The Global Network Initiative - Rebecca MacKinnon (Internet freedom expert, Assistant Professor at Univ. of Hong Kong Journalism and Media Studies Centre), on her RConversation blog, 29 Oct 2008
- Why Reporters Without Borders is not endorsing the Global Principles on Freedom of Expression and Privacy for ICT companies operating in Internet-restricting countries - Reporters Without Borders, 28 Oct 2008
- français : Pourquoi Reporters sans frontières n’adopte pas le Code de conduite sur la responsabilité des entreprises du secteur de l’Internet qui travaillent dans les pays répressifs - Reporters sans frontières, 28 octobre 2008
- Internet companies embrace human rights guidelines - Anick Jesdanun, AP, 28 Oct 2008
[includes criticism by World Organization for Human Rights USA]
- Google, Yahoo!, Microsoft's Privacy Plan - Elizabeth Corcoran & Andy Greenberg, Forbes, 28 Oct 2008
"Although European telecom companies Vodafone and France Telecom participated extensively in structuring the Global Network Initiative, they have not yet officially joined the group." [also includes criticism by Electronic Privacy Information Center, positive comment by US Senator Dick Durbin]
- français : Que penser des promesses des géants du Web? - Anouch Seydtaghia, Le Temps [Suisse], 29 octobre 2008
« Amnesty International, qui a été invité à co-rédiger le texte, a refusé de le signer. 'L'initiative est louable, mais ne va pas assez loin, regrette Manon Schick, porte-parole d'Amnesty en Suisse...' »
- US tech giants join move to protect freedom of speech online - AFP, 28 Oct 2008
[also refers to Cisco, Skype (part of eBay), Tom Online]
- Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo Unveil Human Rights Guidelines - K.C. Jones, InformationWeek, 28 Oct 2008
[notes that AT&T, Verizon, Sprint Nextel are not participating]
- Parsing the Google, Yahoo, Microsoft “Global Network Initiative” - Geoffrey Fowler, China Journal blog, Wall Street Journal, 28 Oct 2008
"[T]his voluntary initiative applies to doing business everywhere... The devil is in details of how the framework gets implemented... It does contain some practical 'application guidance' on issues such as being transparent to users about how their private data might be shared, and on seeking written legal communication from local government authorities before handing over private data.
For the most part, however, members decided not to include specific rules on issues such as where to host servers...because they felt that fast-changing technology might make them quickly irrelevant.
'The idea is that we believe the guidelines will need to be reviewed, and we will have to revise them as we take into account the actual experience,' says Sharon Hom, the executive director of Human Rights in China, which also helped develop the framework over two years. 'It envisions an ongoing process of learning and sharing best practices,' she says.
Part of the 'teeth' of the agreement, says Ms. Hom, will come from the human rights assessment by an independent committee, which will evaluate companies on how well they live up the principles they signed up for.
One potential sticking point is that many multinational Internet companies already have Chinese joint venture partners — or equity stakes in Chinese companies — over which they don’t have operational control." [refers to Alibaba, Yahoo!]