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Search Engines Working on Human Rights Charter

The Register reports Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and Vodafone are among a group of tech companies looking to create a code of conduct to protect freedom of expression online.

The companies announced their “intention to seek solutions to the free expression and privacy challenges faced by technology and communications companies doing business internationally”, according to a joint statement. Later this year the group of companies and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) will produce “a set of principles guiding company behaviour when faced with laws, regulations and policies that interfere with the achievement of human rights”, said the statement. Those that commit to those principles will be held accountable to them, it said.

As the Register suggests, it will be interesting to see how this will work, in light of Google and Yahoo’s apparent willingness to concede to oppressive governments such as China.