Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo are going to announce new policies regarding how it does business in repressive countries according to this Reuters article:
Under the new principles, which were crafted over two years, the companies will promise to protect the personal information of their users wherever they do business and to “narrowly interpret and implement government demands that compromise privacy,” the Journal said.
They will 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 discuss the risks widely with their executives and board members, the paper said.
While I haven’t seen the whole set of principals, it’s interesting to note what they are not saying. They are not saying that they won’t give these regimes everything they ask for; they are just going to make them be specific about it.
And that’s probably the best that we can hope for. I don’t expect these companies to stop doing business in some of the largest countries in the world just because they aren’t free.
But consumers need to know that and act accordingly.