00:34 AM

Yahoo gives $1m to fund research into "international values"

Yahoo has come under considerable criticism from shareholders and politicians for turning over data on its users to foreign governments. In China, the information has been used to imprison a journalist for ten years.

To help it figure out appropriate behavior, Yahoo today announced a $1m gift to Georgetown University to establish a Yahoo! International Values, Communications, Technology, and Global Internet Fellowship Fund.

"This commitment is another step in our efforts to be actively engaged on issues that arise at the intersection of human rights and the Internet," said Jerry Yang, Yahoo! co-founder.

The fund will support the education and research activities of an annual Yahoo! Fellow in Residence and two Junior Yahoo! Fellows who will study the link between international values and Internet and communication technologies.

Yahoo! is currently participating in a multi-stakeholder dialogue that includes industry representatives, human rights groups, leading academics, and socially responsible investors.  This diverse group has made a formal and public commitment to creating a set of global principles and operating procedures on freedom of expression and privacy to guide company behavior when faced with laws, regulations and policies that interfere with human rights.

Why doesn't Yahoo know that it is not right to collect data on its users in countries where political speech can be treated as a crime? Why does it take "eight years" of research at Georgetown University to figure it out? It'll be 2015:

Georgetown’s first Yahoo! Fellow in Residence and Junior Yahoo! Fellows are expected to begin their research on campus during the fall 2007 semester. They will study how international values impact the development and use of new communication technologies such as how the operation and regulation of the global internet affects personal privacy, freedom of expression, education, socio-cultural change and cross-national contacts among civil society groups. The fund, which will support annual Yahoo! Fellows housed at the School of Foreign Service’s Institute for the Study of Diplomacy (ISD) over the next eight years, builds upon the School’s mission to foster academic-practitioner collaborations around key foreign policy issues.

Georgetown University Yahoo! Gift Supports Global Communications Research Google is in the same boat too and facing strong shareholder pressure.


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