Its been four months since CDT -- in partnership with Business for Social Responsibility
-- announced the launch of a multi-stakeholder initiative
to produce a set of principles to guide the decision-making of high-tech companies when faced with laws, regulations and policies that interfere with the achievement of human rights. The initiative has brought together a number of high tech companies, (including Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo!), investors, technology leaders, press organizations and human rights groups into an ambitious year-long dialogue that aims to not only draft principles, but to establish an ongoing governance process to measure progress, ensure accountability and foster ongoing dialogue and collaboration.
I have just returned from a meeting of the group in London and am optimistic with the progress that we are making. The group reviewed and commented on a first draft of principles and proposed operational procedures. That input will inform the second round of the drafting process and an additional subgroup is beginning the difficult task of considering metrics to measure company progress.
Progress is also being made in attracting other companies to the table. TeliaSonera
, a major Swedish telecommunications company with operations in Russia and Eastern Europe has joined the group and a number of other Internet and telecommunications companies are closely following the process.
Hard questions remain. What should the real goal of corporate principles be?
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