updated 11:50 am EDT, Wed October 29, 2008
New anti-censorship group
Google, Microsoft and Yahoo are among the founding members of a new anti-censorship group called the Global Network Initiative, reports indicate. The organization also has the backing of investor, human rights and press freedom groups, such as the Center for Democracy and Technology. The GNI is specifically aimed at forming a consistent approach to dealing with countries that block free speech on the Internet, such as China. Many governments around the world filter search results, or simply prevent citizens from accessing certain websites.
Participation in GNI marks a reversal of policy by the three tech companies, which have in the past been accused of collaborating with governments to censor websites, or even helping to hunt down political dissidents. It is in fact uncertain to what degree the corporations will actually protest government actions; human rights motions were voted down at the last Google shareholder meeting, and Microsoft is said to have published a paper indicating it would continue to follow local censorship restrictions, regardless of whether they violate rights held elsewhere.