Undermining freedom of expression in China – The role of Yahoo!, Microsoft and Google, by Amnesty

In July this year, Amnesty International published their report Undermining freedom of expression in China – The role of Yahoo!, Microsoft and Google, where they discuss and analyze these companies values compared to their actual actions (direct PDF link, 32 pages, 504 kb).

I would say that such a paper, and the implications of it, is something that everyone should read and try to embrace. Freedom of expression is far from global, and it also deals with the dangerous stance of multinational companies and what lengths they will go to, to do business.

It is about time we put some pressure to companies, make them stand up for their historical poor decisions and demand of them to take human rights into accountability!

Kofi Annan puts it in far better words than I can:

And of course, the information society’s very life blood is freedom. It is freedom that enables citizens everywhere to benefit from knowledge, journalists to do their essential work, and citizens to hold government accountable. Without openness, without the right to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers, the information revolution will stall, and the information society we hope to build will be stillborn.

Posted in Developing, Technology


  • just-another-web-mon says:

    Canada here on gnu/linux 🙂

    Glad to see other Web developers and people everywhere speaking up–in the midst of their work, practice, and personal concerns–for freedom of information and expression on the Web, and dignity for everyone. Imagine not being able to get at information you want because it's been decided that it's not safe for you to read, or to have your blog or what you've written blocked.

    A search I like and use is exalead.com–I don't know who or what they censor, if anyone. But they seem to be a reasonably good alternative to using Google or Yahoo for searches.

  • Robert Nyman says:


    I'm glad to hear that you share my opinions.

  • MÃ&Acir says:

    Great to see you commenting on this.

    It is scary to see Google grow bigger and bigger and then drop their moral in the dustbin.

    What kind of future awaits our children? Who will decide what people can find on the "free" internet?

    The future of huge corporations ruling the earth doesn't feel so far fetched today…

  • It is very disappointing that governments are able to censor free speech on the internet – and are getting away with it with little or no condemnation from other countries!

    The 'affecting change from within' stance is pure rhetoric to the reality that they are positioning themselves in readiness for what will undoubtedly become the largest single market in the world – shame on them that they are willing to sell their souls in the hope of an early slice…

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Müfit, Steve,

    Thanks for your comments. It seems like companies just reason like "if we don't do it, someone else will", which is not a good nor valid reason for doing something completely wrong.

  • just-another-web-mon says:

    I read via yesterday's Electronic Frontier Foundation's Deep Links that China has lifted its latest ban of Wikipedia, which is again available–in its entirety–to mainland China.

    Importantly, Wikipedia has been unbanned because it is "too valuable to be blocked"

    NOT because Wikipedia conceded that some–censored– information is better than none, which would have certainly made it less valuable–just as Google has become less valuable–to everyone, including, apparently, the Chinese government.

    Too bad Google didn't stand its ground like Wikipedia.

  • Robert Nyman says:


    Good to hear! Go Wikipedia.

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