Internet best practices, or an online code of conduct, have been discussed many times in the past by several companies, associations, government organizations and the international community at large. Now, tech companies such as Google, Yahoo!, Microsoft and Vodafone are addressing the subject with human rights and press freedom groups in an attempt to create a code of conduct to protect free speech and privacy of Internet users.
The objective is to counter the growing trend of censorship, monitoring legitimate online activity and punishing online journalists. The Center for Democracy and Technology and West Coast-based Business for Social Responsibility are aiming for a year-end deadline to draft a code that holds companies accountable should they suppress free speech or violate human rights.
Tech companies have been instrumental in providing tools to build technology-driven economies and social change in developing countries. An online code of conduct should help place pressure in instances where governments use this technology to turn against their people, monitor their legal online activity and censor certain material.