Posted October 28, 2008 10:39 am by with 12 comments

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This is one of those posts where you get to tell me what opinion Marketing Pilgrim should take.

The WSJ is reporting that Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft have agreed to follow a common set of principles that will govern how they do business in countries that might restrict free speech.

Under the new principles, which were crafted over two years, the technology titans promise to protect the personal information of their users wherever they do business and to “narrowly interpret and implement government demands that compromise privacy,” according to the code. They also commit to scrutinizing a country’s track record of jeopardizing personal information and freedom of expression before launching new businesses in a country and to discussing the risks widely with their executives and board members.

The pact has the blessing of some groups–such as Human Rights First and Committee to Protect Journalists–but criticized for not going far enough by others–such as the World Organization for Human Rights USA.

So, which side are you on?

1. This is a great agreement and shows that these internet titans take our privacy and freedom of speech seriously. Or,

2. The wording is too loose and doesn’t actually prevent Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft from complying with the countries they operate in.

3. Something else on your mind?

  • There is still a lot of bad feelings toward Yahoo and how they cooperated with China’s oppressive government. To be honest, I’ve never liked Yahoo. As an online marketer, I have had run-in after run-in with them for their “communist” approach to marketers like the time I had a Shopster account and web store set up and they refused to allow me to advertise in their Yahoo product system because I didn’t have a “physical” address. I listed the Shopster headquarters address and they banned my listing because it was not the “real” address. I mean stupid. These were Shopsters products from reputable suppliers and Shopster offers customers a money back guarantee on all purchases as well as fraud protection. But Yahoo explained that they were looking out for the “safety” of consumers by banning my website because it was not a brick and mortar store. I could go on and on about the mistakes Yahoo makes. They stifle creativity by taking a communist approach to the Internet which doesn’t work in a free market system.

    I am of the opinion that nobody should trust Yahoo when it comes to free speech. Yahoo has already proven itself to be untrustworthy on this issue when it really mattered. I think it’s a desperate attempt by Yahoo’s marketing department to rebrand and change the image most people have of Yahoo on this matter. I think this has more to do with marketing than it does free speech.

  • finally… the big groups support net neutrality

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  • It sounds to me like a vaguely worded statement designed to appease their critics without actually committing the parties to anything.

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  • Riiiiiiiiiiiiiight…

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  • All the major search engines are agreeing with each other. What can be better than that? 😀

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  • Finally, the feudal wars have ended! Or has it?!?! dun Dun DUNNN!

  • which side ? I have not decide it yet. LOL

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  • I think that we must wait and see how this translates into practice. Theorizing is all very well till someone gets into trouble.

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  • As Nicole said above, signing one paper is easy thing, putting things to practice it’s not that easy.

  • Andew Mitchell

    This is globalization at its core. The web and its facilitators are truly a “new world order” in the making, and the steps that they take will dictate the relevant interpretation of each country’s policies, constitutions, laws, etc. At some point, one global policy will need to be created to govern the web, and it might look drastically different than the US Constitution, Bill of rights or common laws of the US.

    At least that’s my take on it.

  • Free Speech is very risky as even on the interent you are not fully protected

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