Regulate internet companies to make them respect freedom of speech: Reporters Without Borders
January 8th, 2006

ReportersWithoutBorders.gifDan Gillmor notes a call from Reporters Without Borders to regulate computer companies… to make them respect free speech. This follows from Microsoft’s recent China censorship debacle, but RSF notes a series of other cases where digital providers blocked access to content or other people, naming companies including Google, Cisco, Fortinet, Yahoo!, and Secure Computing.

Initially, a group of congressmen should formally ask Internet corporations to reach an agreement among themselves on a code of conduct that includes the recommendations we make at the end of this document. The companies would be urged to use the help of organisations specialised in freedom of expression in drafting the document. The request would include a deadline for the companies to submit their draft code of conduct to the congressmen concerned.

In the event that no satisfactory code of conduct has been drawn up when the deadline expires, or the proposed code has not been accepted by a sufficient number of representative companies, the congressmen would set about drafting a law that would aim to ensure that US companies respect freedom of expression when they are operating in repressive countries and elsewhere.

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