Friday, February 22, 2013

Corporate Influences on Human Rights

On December 18, 2010, a serious of protests, marches and demonstrations began in the Middle East. This fateful event is known as the Arab Spring, and was caused by the oppressive authoritarian governments common to most of the Middle East, and North African countries. Furthermore, as an outlet for events of the Arab Spring, many revolutionaries have been using the internet as the primary medium of communication. Such action has led to the repression of the rights of many middle easterners to use the internet, that is to say, the governments want to contain knowledge of this revolution and ultimately retain totalitarian control. The problem with trying to stop internet use, is the fact that there is always some way to get the information out into the data stream. Therefore, governments have been buying spyware in order to catch human rights activists/revolutionaries, and subsequently kill or torture them. This leads to the crux of the article: should the companies that sell these items to those governments be punished, or take responsibility for the repression that is a direct result of their sales? They should most definitely take responsibility for the repression. I don’t, however, think prosecution should take place; the companies themselves should just make an effort to stop selling those weapons to those government. Furthermore, a blacklist of countries where human rights suppression is taking place should be created, and then the companies would have no excuse to say, “I didn’t know I was selling it to these governments”. Companies, just like people, have a responsibility to take all actions necessary to prevent human rights oppression and repression.

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