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Human rights

Top web companies violating human rights, charges Amnesty International

Friday, July 21, 2006 by: NewsTarget
Tags: human rights, internet censorship, health news


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(NewsTarget) Amnesty International has publicly criticized Internet companies Microsoft, Google and Yahoo for their censorship agreements with Chinese authorities.

"The Internet should promote free speech, not restrict it. We have to guard against the creation of two Internets -- one for expression and one for represssion," stated Larry Cox, Amnesty's United States executive director. Amnesty claims the Internet companies "have violated their stated corporate values and policies" in order to take advantage of China's growing online population.

Google, Inc. and Alibaba.com -- which handles Yahoo services in China -- have defended their interests by claiming their efforts benefit the Chinese populace.

Google says when it cannot assure Chinese Internet users their information is secure, they opt not to offer services at all, and when search results are modified, they notify patrons. Alibaba.com claims their services pertain only to Internet business, not information.

While the Chinese government sponsors Internet use, it censors any information considered disloyal or profane, and has used Internet companies to get to users who post such information.

Previously, Yahoo was criticized for disclosing information on two email accountholders who were consequently imprisoned. Microsoft has prohibited the words "human rights" from its Chinese web log service and closed the account of a Chinese blogger at the request of Beijing authorities.

Amnesty requested Internet companies to "exhaust all judicial appeals" before they agree to demands from the communist government that might compromise human rights. It also appealed to the companies to demand the release of imprisoned protesters.

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