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Google votes on whether to protect free speech

1 Apr 2008
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For the second year in a row, Google shareholders will be asked to hold the Web search giant accountable for protecting free speech, regardless of international borders.

One of the proposals to be submitted at the annual shareholder meeting scheduled for 8 May, would require Google to create policies to protect freedom of access to the Internet, according to the company's proxy statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

"Technology companies in the United States have failed to develop adequate standards by which they can conduct business with authoritarian governments while protecting human rights to freedom of speech and freedom of expression," the proposal states.

The measure would require that Google not host data that can identify individual users in Internet restricting countries; resist demands for censorship; inform users when it has censored content; and tell users about its data retention practices.

The proposal is similar to one that would have prohibited Google from pro-actively censoring itself that Google shareholders rejected a year ago.

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2008
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