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Leslie Harris and Michael Samway on promoting the free flow of information

Leslie Harris

Leslie Harris

Leslie Harris, President and CEO of the Center for Democracy & Technology, and Michael Samway, Vice President and Deputy General Counsel at Yahoo!, have an excellent piece over at the Huffington Post on the importance of promoting the free flow of information as a means to promote human rights. They write:

Promoting the free flow of information and protecting those who engage in it does not always — or simply — require an influx of funding. American technology companies often confront challenging legal and regulatory regimes in foreign markets, and finding solutions requires a determined effort by many stakeholders, including governments.

To tackle these challenges, Yahoo! and other technology companies, along with human rights organizations, policy advocates like The Center for Democracy & Technology, academics, and investors last year launched the Global Network Initiative (GNI), a coalition dedicated to protecting and advancing freedom of expression and privacy in the information and communication technology industry. GNI helps guide companies on principles and practices that can – and should – be deployed to ensure the Internet remains a tool for freedom rather than repression.

At a summit this week on business and human rights hosted by Yahoo!, a collection of GNI members and social media activists from around the world are gathering to share diverse perspectives on the challenges and opportunities for both Internet technology providers and users in today’s world. By highlighting their unique experiences, summit participants hope to learn from each other and educate others on their common agenda to enhance the free flow of information and respect for human rights. The web should be a tool for ordinary people throughout the world to reach beyond boundaries and become the driving force for social, political, and economic progress.

Yahoo! and the GNI are to be commended on their efforts.

For more information on the GNI, check out this excellent C-SPAN interview with Michael Samway.

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Anthony Clark Arend is Professor of Government and Foreign Service at Georgetown University and the Director of the Master of Science in Foreign Service in the Walsh School of Foreign Service.

Commentary and analysis at the intersection of international law and politics.