“Twitter Co-Founder Biz Stone thinks his company eventually will have to deal with China despite disagreements over censorship, but it has no plans to do so immediately.
“We plan on being around for decades, at the very least, so we’re not going to be able to ignore it forever,” Stone said. One thing Twitter is studying is the Global Network Initiative, which has laid out a set of guidelines for Internet companies to follow when faced with requests to censor information or reveal users’ identities, he said.”
Global Network Initiative
Posts tagged “Global Network Initiative”
“The year 2010 firmly established the role of social networks and the Internet as mobilization and news transmission tools. In 2010 alone, 250 million Internet users joined Facebook and by the end of the year, the social network had 600 million members. In September that year, 175 million people were Twitter users – 100 million more than in the previous year.
The Internet remains above all a tool used for the better or the worse. In the most closed countries, it creates a space of freedom which would not otherwise exist. Its potential to disseminate news irritates dictators and eludes traditional censorship methods. Some regimes use it – mainly on Facebook and Twitter – to monitor dissidents and infiltrate their networks.”
“When Google, Yahoo and Microsoft signed a code of conduct intended to protect online free speech and privacy in restrictive countries, the debate over censorship by China was raging, and Internet companies operating there were under fire for putting profit ahead of principle.
It seemed the perfect rallying moment for a core cause, and the companies hoped that other technology firms would follow their lead. But three years later, the effort known as the Global Network Initiative has failed to attract any corporate members beyond the original three, limiting its impact and raising questions about its potential as a viable force for change.
At the same time, the recent Middle East uprisings have highlighted the crucial role technology can play in the world’s most closed societies, which leaders of the initiative say makes their efforts even more important.”
From The New York Times
“In Egypt, the tried-and-true tool for opponents of President Hosni Mubarak in recent years has been Facebook. Most recently, it was on Facebook – which boasts 5 million users in Egypt, the most in the Arab world – where youthful outrage over the killing of a prominent activist spread, leading to the protests in Cairo’s Tahrir Square and Mubarak’s promise to step down this year.
But Facebook, which celebrates its seventh birthday Friday and has more than a half-billion users worldwide, is not eagerly embracing its role as the insurrectionists’ instrument of choice. Its strategy contrasts with rivals Google and Twitter, which actively helped opposition leaders communicate after the Egyptian government shut down Internet access.
The Silicon Valley giant, whether it likes it or not, has been thrust like never before into a sensitive global political moment that pits the company’s need for an open Internet against concerns that autocratic regimes could limit use of the site or shut it down altogether.”
From The Washington Post
“Much has been said about the culpability of Hosni Mubarak’s regime in choking off the Internet as Egyptian protesters tried to organize against their government. That repressive behavior has been rightfully condemned.
But equally important over the long term is the positive responsibility of powerful social networking companies like Twitter and Facebook, whose choices today and tomorrow will prove just as crucial in shaping global rights to free assembly.
First, neither Twitter and Facebook, nor any other digital tool, can cause people to take to the streets in Cairo or anywhere else. Before anyone risks his or her freedom and physical safety to jump in and join a protest, there has to be the anger, the passion and the desire for reform. But these tools have proved to be very helpful to those who are organizing the protests.”
From New York Daily News
“Recent decisions by some technology companies to restrict access to or sever ties with Wikileaks highlight the difficulties companies face when governments attempt to restrict controversial information.
The Global Network Initiative does not take a position on Wikileaks decision to publish these materials or on their content, but is concerned about the implications for freedom of expression and privacy online. As citizens increasingly depend on digital communications in their daily lives, including for political discourse, GNI believes that freedom of expression and human rights must be protected in the following ways”
“Online service providers usually reserve—and often exercise—the right to deactivate accounts or remove content for various reasons. Content takedowns and account deactivations can occur because of legitimate terms of service violations by users, such as spamming or harassment. In other cases, misunderstandings of terms of service by users, mistakes by automated content monitoring processes, or targeted campaigns to ‘flag’ a user’s legitimate post can lead to decisions to remove content or deactivate accounts. These issues may be exacerbated by systems that enable users to report content that violates terms of service yet do not provide sufficient supervision and safeguards; these systems may also be open to abuse by users or governments that disagree with a view voiced by someone on the platform. In some cases, unclear appeals processes or a lack of other forms of remedy can leave users with few opportunities to resolve their issues with the platform in question.”
From the Global Network Initiative
“With only five days left to reach an agreement before India bans its flagship services, the BlackBerry maker is reaching out with a last-minute compromise that would allow it to continue operating in the country. It proposed an “industry forum” of technology and communications players to work with the Indian government.
Ronald Deibert, a University of Toronto professor who advises governments on Internet security issues, said RIM’s tactic of trying to include others in the discussion mimics the approach taken by Google Inc. and Yahoo Inc., which both ran into privacy and human rights concerns in China. This helped create the Global Network Initiative, which has drafted principles for dealing with government pressure.”
From The Globe and Mail
In his essay in the Globe and Mail Professor Deibert provides illuminating insight questions related to the use and abuse of cyberspace, as well as Canada’s role in the constantly evolving space of global communications.
The GNI is seeing a rapidly growing interest in how the GNI’s Principles and Implementation Guidelines can be adapted for other segments of the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) industry. Senator Durbin recently sent two letters to ICT companies seeking more information about their approach to human rights, there have been numerous hearings in Congress, and a high level meeting organized by the State Department. This interest has been especially focused on equipment manufacturers, consumer electronics brands, handset manufacturers and the providers of security and filtering services and enterprise management software.