Amnesty International accused Yahoo, Microsoft and Google on Thursday of violating human rights principles by cooperating with China’s efforts to censor the Web and called on them to lobby for the release of jailed cyber-dissidents.
The London-based human rights group also called on the Internet companies to publicly oppose Chinese government requests that violate human rights standards.
“The Internet should promote free speech, not restrict it. We have to guard against the creation of two Internets — one for expression and one for repression,” said Larry Cox, executive director of Amnesty’s U.S. branch, in a statement.
The companies “have violated their stated corporate values and policies” in their pursuit of China’s booming Internet market, the statement said.
Yahoo (here) and Google defended themselves by saying that pesky details aside, their presence in China actually helps the Chinese public. There was no response at time of publication from Microsoft. The Amnesty International report is here and they have apparently launched a Web campaign based at irrepressible.info that targets the three companies and features form letters, faxes, and emails to CEOs.