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Business - ICP in HR Abuse.docx

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Philosophy 2074F/G
Michael Herbert

INTERNET CONTENT PROVIDERS AND COMPLICITY IN HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSE – SMITH  I am more interested in exploring the extent to which ICPS bear moral responsibility for their compliance with Chinese directives. More specifically, these cases are an interesting opportunity to examine what it means for corporations to be complicit in moral wrongdoing; in this case, the duty not to infringe upon the legitimate human rights of others  I conclude with some tentative remarks as to how ICPs can shift to a more passive presence in the Chinese internet market that preserves their competitive position and does not assist the Chinese government in the suppression of the rights of expression association and privacy  The rights to expression, association and privacy have been recognized as fundamental rights under international law and a growing consensus of multinational business leaders  The right of peaceful assembly shall be recognized. No restrictions may be placed on the exercise of this right other than those imposed in conformity with the law and which are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security of public safety, public order and the protection of public health or morals or the protection of the rights of freedom of others  The international covenant has served as the primary international instrument for the development of constitutionally recognized rights by nations-states.  It is more difficult to find mention and use of the right of privacy in international law  The UN global compact, too, has served as an international instrument to recognize and protect the human rights of various stakeholders  It is important to note that this legal and institutional recognition of the rights of expression, association and privacy is not what gives these rights their moral authority  Their authority is prior to their legal protection because nation-states and corporations have a moral duty not to abridge these rights regardless of the extent to which they may, or may not be positively recognized and protected by governments  Respect for personhood requires, among other things, guarantees of autonomy or the ability to fully self determine one’s life in accordance with one’s own choices  Core human goods are secured only when central human capabilities are protected  Human life requires physical safety, health, creativity, education, social membership and control over their external environment. Rights are instrumental in securing these constituents of a complete life  ICPs are licensed prior to operation and are held legally responsible for all content hosted through their services  Disseminating pernicious information that may jeopardize state security or disrupt social stability  First, companies can be complicit in human rights abuse when they are silent enablers of abuse. This means that companies that engage in activities with separate, legitimate business purposes may be implicated through these activities in providing resources, technology or expertise that are used by principle authorities to deprive individuals of their human rights. The term silent refers to the fact that companies in question have knowledge, or could reasonably be expected to have knowledge about the use of their resources, technology or expertise in the deprivation of human rights. It is natural to describe these silent enabling acts as morally negligent as opposed to intentional because the intention to deprive an individual of some right is not a deliberate or non- deliberate intention of the company’s managers  Acts that silently enable human rights violations are therefore complicit but not indirect  A final category of complicit acts that is often highlights in the human rights literature concerns instances where corporations derive benefits from their engagement with a principal authority  Direct violations of human rights are intention, deliberate and have the specific purpose of depriving an individual or individuals or a right  Indirect acts that result in the violation of human rights are intention, non-deliberate and have the purpose of responding to norms established by some other principal authority  Indirect actors are complicit in the violation of a human right because they provide practical assistance to a principal authority who directs the violation  Passive violations are merely acts of compliance with a specific order issued by the principal authority  Corporations that silently enable or derive benefit from the violation of human rights can potentially be morally negligent even though their actions do not fall into the category of indirect violations of human rights  Chinese government may vary from time to time or may be arbitrary depending upon edicts of the Communist Party of the Ministry of Information. This was exactly the rationale offered by Google and Microsoft as to why they have made the decision not to offer Chinese mail, web and blogging services. Keeping these services in the United States has meant that user information remains located on the servers outside of China  In addition to censoring certain URLs, ICPs filter content containing words or phrases that contravene norms established by the Ministry of Information  The number of information links available through censored searches varies according to the ICP used  The problem with classifying delisting and filtering as passive complicity is that it belies the methods used by ICPs to comply with Chinese licensing requirements  ICPs have developed lists of content to be censored based upon a careful extrapolation of what would fall into the broad categories of banned content identified by the Chinese government  ICP censorship is clearly responsive to the demands of Chinese authorities. Nonetheless, in an effort to demand conflict with Chinese authorities and a strong motive to assure a strong competitive position within the Chinese market. American ICPs have been instrumental in improving the effectiveness of Chinese internet censorship policies  A final act of complicity that should be mentioned concerns the use of Cisco system’s routers in the maintenance of China’s information networks  A commitment not to actively pursue methods of censorship may make the Chinese effort at censorship more difficult to accomplish  Greater passivity does not require inaction, indeed, refusing to initiate censorship through new technology, keeping user data offshore, waiting for written court orders, pursuing appeals, using maximal security techniques at all times and the like should be viewed as a kind of limited refusal to provide practical assistance in the censorship effort INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY AND PHARMACEUTICAL DRUGS – DE GEORGE  The notion of IP is contentious. Nonetheless there is justification for granting exclusive rights to some original useful products or processes if the result benefits the common good  Because intellectual property is significantly different from other kinds of property, the ethical defenses of intellectual property differ from the defenses- such as the Lockean – or other kinds of property, and traditions in different parts of the world treat intellectual property differently  Society benefits from new products, both initially and after they are no longer protected and fall into the public domain. The greatest benefit to the common good or to society is achieved by offering inventors and developers of new products a period during which they can make their profits without competition or free riders  The pharmaceutical industry and some economists have persuasively argued that more new drugs are developed when pharmaceutical companies make sufficient profits to invest in research and development and the pharmaceutical industry argues that the large profits for which the industry is known are necessary to underwrite both the high cost of developing a new drug and the large number of initial attempts that never turn into successful, marketable drugs  Status Quo Approach |(SQA) which is legal economic approach t reply to critics of their policies who adopt not an economic but a moral approach to pharmaceuticals  Morally based attacks that make a link between patents and the availability of drugs for the poor and are rejected as misconceived  Social responsibility is the surrogate for moral responsibility; is part of the SQA and is seen by the industry as answering morally based criticism  It is more likely than untried alternative schemes of intellectual property protection to produce beneficial results in the future. The approach thus entrenches and sanctifies the status quo.  Patents i have argued, can be justified from an ethical point of view. But that justification is limited  Nor have ethical considerations been a dominant consideration in changes that have been made in patent law  Discussions of intellectual property are very complex and involve knowledge of co
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