Google board to oppose shareholder initiatives on Net censorship ban, human rights review
Google Inc.’s board of directors is opposing a shareholder initiative to ban Internet censorship as well as the creation of a separate board committee to review the company’s policies on human rights, according to Google’s proxy statement filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and released publicly. At its annual meeting May 8, the board will recommend a vote against a shareholder proposal that would require the company to take steps to ensure freedom of access to the Internet. It also advises a vote against a proposal calling for the board to form a separate committee to review its policies on human rights.
“Technology companies in the United States have failed to develop adequate standards by which they can conduct business with authoritarian governments while protecting human rights to freedom of speech and freedom of expression,” the first proposal states.
The second proposal would require Google to create a committee to review the company’s human rights policies. That proposal was made by Harrington Investments Inc., a Napa, Calif.-based firm that focuses on socially responsible investing.
In a statement on its Web site, Harrington said that companies such Yahoo, Google and others “have been working to restrict access and filter information on the Internet, as well as identify Internet users, including bloggers who advocate democracy, leading to their arrest, imprisonment and often torture.”
Google was criticized for launching a search service in 2006 aimed at Chinese users that blocks results considered objectionable to government of the People’s Republic of China. The company said it struggled over the decision but concluded that it was better to provide some Internet service than none at all.
Full article / source: CW Networking & Internet
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