Yahoo! Business & Human Rights Summit

The National Press Club in Washington, D.C. was the location for Yahoo!‘s third annual Business & Human Rights Summit, held on Thursday May 5 2011. The Summit featured experts from the business, government, academic, media and advocacy communities, with discussions focused on raising awareness about freedom of expression online and the challenges to this fundamental right. The agenda for this year’s program was developed jointly by Yahoo! and Business for Social Responsibility and the program was moderated by Aron Cramer, President and CEO of BSR.  Watch video highlights of the Summit here, and view photos of the Summit here.

Ahmed Nassef opens the Summit

The Summit’s host, Yahoo! Middle East Vice President and Managing Director, Ahmed Nassef, opened the Summit, outlining Yahoo!’s commitment to promoting the Internet as a platform for the free exchange of ideas, and our belief in engaging in international markets in a responsible way that protects our users’ rights to freedom of expression and privacy.

Keynote Speaker: Assistant Secretary Michael H. Posner, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, Department of State

The Summit's keynote speaker was Michael Posner, Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, U.S. Department of State, who singled out Yahoo! as a leader in the Internet and Communications sector and the company’s proactive engagement on human rights issues.

A Fine Balance: Liberty and Security in the Digital Age

The first panel was a discussion on the challenges faced in finding the right balance between freedom of expression and national security. Panelists Lara Ballard, Attorney-Adviser, International Communications & Information Policy, U.S. Department of State,  Cynthia Wong, Director of the Center for Democracy & Technology's Global Internet Freedom Project, and Rick Nelson, Senior Fellow, International Security Program,  Center for Strategic and International Studies discussed the complex issues that companies face in navigating between those equally important responsibilities. Watch the discussion here.

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised: The Role of Technology and Social Media in the Middle East

Panelists Mohamed Abdel Dayem, Program Coordinator, Committee to Protect Journalists, award-winning syndicated columnist Mona Eltahawy and Hosam El Sokkari, Yahoo!’s Head of Audience for the Middle East participated in the second panel, which examined the actual role of social media in the Arab Spring and the realities of using social media and technology platforms for political activism. View the discussion here.

Technological Solutions to Human Rights Problems

The third panel featured a discussion on ongoing human rights issues and technology innovations that address these challenges. Panelists included Erin Mote, Chief of Party, Global Broadband & Innovations Alliance, USAID, Katrin Verclas, Co-founder & Editor, MobileActive.org and Jon Camfield, Changemakers’ Technology Strategist, Ashoka. Watch the discussion here. Learn more about the 2009 and 2010 Yahoo! Business and Human Rights Summits.