Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Yes, it's a Human Right. Yes, I'm a human...

A declaration in support of our best hope for real human progress.
To help advance freedom of expression, the undersigned:
  • Reaffirm that freedom of expression is a universal human right that companies have an obligation to respect throughout their worldwide operations, and, in particular, in countries with a history of serious and widespread human rights violations;
  • Reaffirm that Internet sector businesses have a particular responsibility in this domain for a number of reasons, including the following:
    • Their long-term success depends on a broadly connected Internet that is free of censorship; and
    • Millions of people depend on their products and services for reliable access to news and information;
  • Recognize that, according to numerous and credible sources, a number of countries throughout the world do not tolerate public dissent and monitor and control citizens’ access to the Internet as a means of suppressing freedom of expression;
  • Recognize that some businesses help authorities in repressive countries to censor and mount surveillance of the Internet, and others turn a blind eye to the use made of their equipment;
  • State that respect for freedom of expression is a factor we consider in assessing a company’s social performance;
  • Announce that we will monitor the operations of Internet businesses in repressive regime countries to evaluate their impact on access to news and information;
  • Commit ourselves to supporting, at annual general meetings of publicly listed companies, shareholder resolutions that we believe are favorable to freedom of expression or otherwise promote the principles of this declaration;
  • Call on Internet businesses to adopt and make public ethical codes stressing their commitment to freedom of expression and defining their obligations to uphold these freedoms, and
  • Call on Internet businesses to make information public that will allow investors to assess how each firm is acting to ensure that its products and services are not being used to commit human rights violations (including, products and services that enable Internet censorship, surveillance and identification of dissidents).
Consider me one of the undersigned.

In other news, David Neiwert thinks it's time for a privacy amendment to the Bill of Rights. I agree.

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