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back to article Amnesty backs Google shareholders

A Google shareholder has called for the search giant to clean up its act, a move that's been welcomed by Amnesty International. An advisor to five public pension funds in New York has filed a shareholder proposal calling on Google to adopt a stronger anti-censorship stance. Google has been widely criticised for bowing to …

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d

About time

Google has a corporate responsibility here, purely due to its demi-god status as a near monopoly. It's about time someone important raised it. I hope the motion gets passed - why can't Google's directors have moral fibre in their body as well?

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Anonymous Coward

Do corps. need a mandatory ethical code to follow

It looks like corporations have to be forced into adopting an ethical code.

Remember your slogan "Do no evil", its an ethical code to follow every where & every time.

After watch the documentary "The Corporation" you get a better understanding of the creation of this virtual entity that people use to shield themselves from repercussions.

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Silver badge

Google - Censorship? Us...?

This is, of course, the same Google that delisted Inquisition 21 http://www.inquisition21.com/ after it pointed out that large numbers of credit cards from the "Landslide" database in Operation Ore were being used fraudulently:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/04/19/operation_ore_fraud/

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/09/21/google_delists_inq21/

Curiously enough they never seemed to have explained *why* a site, disseminating information which appears to be clearly in the public interest, doesn't get indexed by them...

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Anonymous Coward

Law is Law

The law is the law in which ever country you operate. I hear so many arguments about how businesses should not be above the law and should face punishment for breaking it. Whether we like it or not, China is its own country with its own ruling party and its own laws. Google cannot, just because the free world wills it, break Chinese laws and expect to either continue operating in China or not at the very least face criminal prosecution. Just because it's legal to sell pot in Amsterdam doesn't mean a legitimate Amsterdam company can come over to the states and sell pot and not have to follow our laws against it.

I say if you believe so full-heartedly that Google and Yahoo! should not have to censor content in China hop a plane, gather supporters, and start a revolution so that a ruling body can repeal the censorship laws. Barring all you self-righteous hypocrits actually going out of your way to help end the censorship stop expecting businesses to break laws because you think its wrong.

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Google Artist

Google create nothing, no web sites , no email systems, adwords was their only creation.

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It's not a matter of obeying local laws

It's having the integrity not to operate purely for profit in countries that have such laws.

Google and Yahoo can't break Chinese law, and you're quite right in saying they shouldn't be expected to face jail time in a Chinese prison for doing so.

But neither should they support the governments behind such laws by expanding their economies and offering their services.

Google and Yahoo can't survive without operating in China? I don't think so, I maybe wrong but I have feeling Google and Yahoo shareholders might just be able to survive financially without the profits from operating there.

The good they do for their employees while operating in China? If their culpability in assisting the capture and imprisonment of even a single Chinese citizen doesn't counter this I don't know what would.

Google are far less culpable of course, because all they do is limit what their search engine can look up - not really that big a deal in the scheme of things. Yahoo's owners on the other hand should be ashamed of themselves. I'm sorry, but balancing the lifestyles of the exceedingly rich versus helping to imprison a free speech advocate is hardly a difficult decision. Their choice is simple, which should be to leave the country they're not helping to make any better.

Some argue that the mere presence of western corporations in China helps to soften the stance of a totalitarian regime. I haven't seen any evidence of this - but I'll acknowledge the possibility does exist. I'd just like someone to prove it in some way, because it would make me feel a bit better about using Google. I no longer use Yahoo - not because they gave up a name when they had no choice but to do so, but because they continue to operate for profit in the country that made them do it.

At the moment I'm not convinced earning huge profits in countries run by governments such as the Chinese is anything but exploitation and greed.

Do I benefit from these companies being there? Quite possibly, but I do try my best to avoid Chinese goods manufactured in sweat shops run by Japanese and Western corporations. It is actually impossible to do completely if you want to own a computer, a DVD player and a TV - but you can at least try. It just costs a bit more - and yes I'd rather pay a lot more for a computer, and have a clean conscience.

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Its funny how

Capitalism bridges a gap between us and China, yet completely ignores humanitarian crisis.

Oh well, just Capitalism being capitalism. Keep the market free! Keep the people under control!

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Anonymous Coward

Do Google Shareholders Actually Have Voting Rights?

IIRC, the shares sold by Google in their IPO were not standard shares - the voting powers had either been stripped or seriously limited.

Andy, I'm not sure you can avoid sweat shop created goods nowadays, even if you pay a premium. Most premiums derive from branding expenses and higher quality components/materials. The same factories put the pieces together.

A lot of companies nowadays claim that their workers are "paid above the market-rate". Very reassuring that is - same conditions with an extra $1 per month. Coolio. Or is that coolie-oh?

On the bright side, Chinese generations to come can look forward to their very own Monty Python Yorkshiremen. "When I were a lad, I used to go t' dye factory..."

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worth having a go

>> Andy, I'm not sure you can avoid sweat shop created goods nowadays, even if you pay a premium. <<

Probably right, but does that mean trying to source things in a more ethical manner is pointless? The sudden uptake of fairtrade goods by all the major supermarkets (even Lidl now have a fairtrade brand!) proves there's a market for ethical products. Ethical consumerism is probably the only mechanism that ordinairy people can use that actually effects the behaviour of large, capitalist organisations....

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