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To Internet companies working in China
- Lobby and attempt to convince the Chinese government and
its officials to end political censorship of the Internet.
and adhere to a code of conduct that prohibits participation in or
facilitation of infringements of the right to free expression,
information, privacy, association, or other internationally recognized
human rights (see Section V, Part 2).
turn over personal user information if it could lead to prosecution for
protected expression. In order to minimize conflicts with Chinese law,
companies should not store such data in China.
- Never censor any material unless required by legally
binding and written government request. The practice of proactively
seeking and censoring search terms, words or phrases in blogs, chatrooms,
online bulletin boards, and websites, as well as entire website addresses,
crosses the line from being censored to becoming the censor, and must end
immediately. There is an ethical difference between being censored and
being the censor.
all legal means to resist demands for censorship of searches, blogs, web
addresses, etc. Companies should only comply with such demands if they are
made via legally binding, documentable procedures and the company has
exhausted all reasonable legal means to resist them.
all cases in which content has been censored in compliance with legally
binding government demands and make this information publicly available.
- Make websites and email available to users to allow for
secure communication via secure protocols such as https (an encrypted version
of the Hypertext Transfer Protocol http, the primary method used to
convey and transfer information on the world wide web), IMAPS (a secure
version of the Internet Message Access Protocol that allows a local client
to access email on a remote server), and POPS (encrypted version of the
Post Office Protocol commonly used by email services so that users can
retrieve email from a remote server).
To investors in Internet companies
- Press for ethical company practices and respect for users
human rights on a global scale.
- Insist on code of conduct and support legislationand
compliance with itif companies fail to adopt and truly follow a code.
To International organizations including the WTO, OECD, and UN
- Make a full study of the ways in which non-transparent
censorship practices in countries such as China contribute to the lack of
a level business playing field, and the extent to which censorship can be
considered a barrier to trade.
To activists, human rights groups, nongovernmental organizations,
charitable foundations, and other groups concerned with promoting global
freedom of speech online
- Work in concert with socially responsible businesses to
develop technologies that will maximize privacy, ensure anonymity, and
enable Internet users around the globe to circumvent Internet censorship,
filtering, and blocking.
- Conduct independent research and documentation of the ways
in which companies are or are not complying with legislation and/or codes
- Provide clearing houses of information through which users
can better inform themselves about the ways in which the products and
services they use may be limiting their universally recognized right to
free speech and privacy.
To users of the services and products of Internet companies
it known that the way users are treated in China and elsewhere is an
indicator of companies respect for users rights globally.
- Take companies human rights standards into account when
deciding which products and services to purchase or use.
To the United States, European Union, Japan, and other countries with
Internet-related companies operating in China
- Support legislation of company behavior as described in Section
V, Part 3 above, to regulate the conduct of such companies and prohibit
their participation in or facilitation of infringements of the right to
free expression, information, privacy, association, or other
internationally recognized human rights.
- Press companies to adopt a principled and effective code
- Press China to end all political censorship of the
Internet and to stop pressuring companies to act as censors.
- Press China to end the use of the criminal law against
individuals on the basis of speech that would otherwise be protected under
international law, and to release all such Internet prisoners.
To the Chinese Government
- End all censorship of internationally protected expression
on the Internet.
- Cease putting pressure on or ordering companies to engage
- End all criminal actions against individuals using the
Internet for peaceful political and religious expression.
- Create formal, well-documented and legally transparent
processes by which content censorship requests are made to companies,
formal written procedures by which companies can challenge or respond to
censorship requests, and formal, transparent legal procedures by which
members of the Chinese public can safely and fairly challenge the legality
of any act of censorship without fear of reprisal.