Google Decision Demonstrates Need for Heightened U.S. Vigilance

(Washington, DC January 13, 2010) Human Rights First welcomes Google’s decision to stop cooperating with China’s internet censorship as a result of cyber-attacks targeting human rights activists. Human Rights First President and CEO Elisa Massimino today issued the following statement:

“Google’s decision to stop cooperating with China’s censorship policies breaks the spell of business as usual for companies that have acquiesced in China’s demands to restrict access on the Internet. It sends a strong signal not only to China but to other companies and to the broader public that companies will find it impossible to uphold the rights of privacy and free expression in an environment where the government holds all the cards. This is an important line in the sand, and should prompt other companies to examine the tradeoffs they are making to operate in this environment.”

“Google may be the most recent target of those who pose threats to human rights activists around the globe, but they certainly won’t be the last. According to Google’s own reports, at least 20 other companies, including Internet and media companies, have been recently attacked. This pattern clearly demonstrates the challenges that companies face operating in China and other countries with restrictive policies on freedom of expression and privacy.”

“These developments underscore the need for heightened vigilance by the U.S. government in challenging China’s policies. We urge Secretary of State Clinton in her upcoming speech to outline a strategy for the U.S. government to work with both companies and human rights activists to advance free expression and privacy on the Internet in the face of increasing repression in China and elsewhere.”

Google has joined with Yahoo and Microsoft in the Global Network Initiative to promote free expression and privacy on the Internet. Google’s experience in China demonstrates the importance to the industry of such a collaborative, transparent and unified approach to challenging government repression. Human Rights First is an active partner in the Global Network Initiative. To learn more about its work, visit http://www.globalnetworkinitiative.org/.

Press

Published on January 13, 2010

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