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Don’t Sleep on Internet Freedom Issue

Reports of crumbling economies around the globe are sucking all the oxygen out of the news cycle. Certainly we can’t ignore the financial peril that many countries are facing; just as certainly, we can’t ignore the perils facing a vital engine of the global economy: The Internet. Yet is precisely at such times that those fighting to keep the Internet innovative, open and free from repression must be the most alert.

CDT President Leslie Harris writes about this in a new OpEd piece published by Reuters:

“Now is the time that Internet and technology companies must step up and take on the very challenges that the Global Internet Freedom Act was intended to address in order to ensure that their services and technologies do not become tools for surveillance and oppression.”

Leslie writes that companies doing business internationally no longer have to operate in a vacuum, feeling like they must construct ad hoc policies when confronted with government requests that violate the human rights principles of freedom of expression and privacy.

Leslie’s OpEd highlights the work of the Global Network Initiative in her piece. The GNI exists to provide companies with a framework for operating in countries with repressive regimes.

“Companies that participate in the Global Network Initiative will be prepared to do the right thing regardless of whether or not there is a legal mandate to do so. At the end of the day, this is about leadership on a fundamental issue of human rights that will not go away.”