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Vodafone Hands Data To Egyptian Police

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the cost-of-doing-business dept.

Privacy 104

Jack Spine writes "A Vodafone exec has admitted the company handed communications data to the Egyptian police following riots over food shortages last year, to aid the identification of suspects. Egyptian law enforcement has a habit of torturing and murdering detainees, or of having them 'disappear.' This is similar to Yahoo handing details of Chinese dissidents over to the authorities in 2005. It's nice to have it confirmed that multinational service providers shelve morals in the pursuit of cash."

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First Ninnle Post! (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26817675)

NinnleninnleninnleninnleninnleninnleninnleninnleBATMAN!

Song (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26817683)

Censor like an Egyption....

This is Government's Job, Not Corporations (5, Insightful)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 5 years ago | (#26817755)

I'm not sure it is productive to be looking towards these companies for moral behavior (Google, Yahoo, Vodafone). If we have a problem with the actions of the Egyptian government, then there are numerous ways for us to apply pressure.

Vodafone is based in England and operates just about everywhere in the world. If Egypt is acting poorly, then pressure your government to threaten sanctions on Vodafone (or any other company) for doing business there until the government wises up.

Frankly, if I were a Vodafone exec in a country with a reputation "of torturing and murdering detainies, or having them 'disappear'" I'd probably cough up information pretty readily, too. If you don't like that, then forbid Vodafone from operating there - don't complain that they are playing by the home field rules.

Re:This is Government's Job, Not Corporations (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 5 years ago | (#26817869)

So, you are saying that Vodafone's ethics are okay, "under the circumstances"? That seems to be what I get from your comments.

Re:This is Government's Job, Not Corporations (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26818071)

Yes.

You don't like the problem? Go change it instead of whining on the internet.

Re:This is Government's Job, Not Corporations (2, Insightful)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 5 years ago | (#26818075)

No, their ethics are not okay.

While it's fine to criticize the company, any effort directed at them is - IMHO - better directed at your national government. If a company does business in Egypt, this sort of thing is going to inevitably happen.

Re:This is Government's Job, Not Corporations (1)

Fluffeh (1273756) | more than 5 years ago | (#26819401)

I wonder if handing over that information is illegal in Egypt. We jump up and down about that infringement on privacy out here in the western world, but I wonder if over yonder in Egypt, if handing out that information actually breaks local privacy laws.

If it doesn't, I wouldn't like to be the guy explaining to the local police chief why my company doesn't want to give them non classified, non private normal run of the day information helping them solve a case (whatever the case is).

Re:This is Government's Job, Not Corporations (2, Insightful)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 5 years ago | (#26819483)

That's exactly the point. It isn't up to corporations to formulate our policy. If we don't like the local laws of Egypt, then we need to take action on the government level. Expecting a corporation to fulfill this function will drive you to madness!

They are supposed to follow the law and do their economic thing. I'd prefer that the people involved behaved ethically, but frankly that shouldn't be important. Things should be set up in such a way that if someone is unethical, they get caught. Also, we as a society get to decide which unethical things are also criminal and we can prosecute those people. If you don't want Vodafone operating in Egypt, get the government to say that any telecommunications company operating in Egypt will be subject to some sanction, or go all out and make it a criminal offense like in Cuba or Iran.

Re:This is Government's Job, Not Corporations (2, Insightful)

sandysnowbeard (1297619) | more than 5 years ago | (#26818215)

So, you are saying that Vodafone's ethics are okay, "under the circumstances"? That seems to be what I get from your comments.

First thing, corporations don't have ethics, at best the people within those corporations have ethics.

The Vodafone exec would have a shitton of shareholders breathing down his neck and calling for his head if he pulled out of Egypt or sacrificed a large amount of shareholder money in order to withhold data from the government. What's really necessary if your assessing duty to the corporation is to look to the shareholders for responsibility. Some won't care, others might, but what if you stand to lose a significant amount of your invested personal wealth because you demanded Vodafone not hand over data at risk of being forced out of Egypt?

The moral territory is slippery. Social psychology phenomena such as the bystander effect imply that everyone is going to shift the responsibility or blame on to someone else. It's human nature. Another alternative would be to pressure the Egyptian government. But who should do that? Vodafone, other governments? Everyone has a variety of interests at stake, and it's often easier and safer to do nothing than to strive for change. I'd prefer a different ending than these people being betrayed by their service providers and Egypt's government screwing them, so isn't it more important to think of a solution than to get wishy-washy about 'vodafone's ethics.'

Re:This is Government's Job, Not Corporations (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 5 years ago | (#26818343)

Yes, corporations DO have ethics, in a very practical sense. Those ethics mirror those of the board. They are (or should be, if the board is actually controlling the corporation as they should be) indistinguishable.

I do not believe the "moral territory" is slippery at all. Even though I am by no means an absolutist (there is always some gray area, and some things are nothing BUT gray), I think the "moral territory" here is quite clear.

Re:This is Government's Job, Not Corporations (2, Interesting)

david_thornley (598059) | more than 5 years ago | (#26820085)

You think the moral thing to do is to disregard the laws of the country you're operating in (assuming that it was a legal request for information, something like a US subpoena)? Just because you disapprove of their criminal justice system?

There's a slippery slope here. I would like to avoid handing dissident information over to governments in general (and that includes my own), but if a country cannot enforce its own laws on companies operating in their territory but based elsewhere, there's a whole lot of bad things that are going to happen.

Re:This is Government's Job, Not Corporations (2, Insightful)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 5 years ago | (#26820981)

I think he's saying that Bob middle manager doesn't really fancy the possibility of being included in the list of dissidents to be tortured or disappeared, so to expect him not to comply is unreasonable.

The only way for Vodaphone to avoid having their hands dirty is not to have any employees in country with enough authority to be able to comply, which basically means they would have to get out entirely.

Similarly, the only way to avoid captains turning over cargoes to pirates when boarded would be to avoid the situation entirely. It's unreasonable to expect anyone on any crew to be willing to lay down their life for a box of stuffed animals or TVs, no matter how numerous.

Re:This is Government's Job, Not Corporations (1)

cyborch (524661) | more than 5 years ago | (#26824505)

Actually, in this instance their ethics are okay. Period.

Read the article. They were forced. Look a the Egyptian govenments ethics in stead.

Responsibility Diffused (2, Insightful)

spun (1352) | more than 5 years ago | (#26818019)

Why is it that corporations are expected, even encouraged, to act amorally, but we expect morality to be enforced by our government? It's like a sick dodge that lets us pretend that we are moral people, while acting amorally out of sheer greed. Sure, some people invest only in socially responsible, environmentally sound companies, but that is rare. Most people invest in companies that do things that those people themselves would never do. And they do so without feeling bad, or even slightly conflicted, because everyone is doing it, and what can they do, they're just one person. It wasn't their decision to poison whole villages and work people to death in unsafe conditions. They just profit from it, and they don't even have to know how that profit came about.

Re:Responsibility Diffused (2, Insightful)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 5 years ago | (#26818121)

Because I can vote for my government officials. Corporations exist to increase the public wealth. Government is supposed to set the boundaries that they can operate in. If Microsoft uses its monopoly position to stifle competition, it is the government who should step in. Saying "please be nice, Microsoft" would be rather unproductive.

Re:Responsibility Diffused (2, Insightful)

spun (1352) | more than 5 years ago | (#26818473)

Asking a corporation to be nice won't work, of course. But why do people continue to invest in companies that do things those people would never do? It seems that if we really wanted to end corporate injustice, rather than having our surrogates, the government, sanction the companies, we could do so ourselves by refusing to invest in them.

But we don't stop, because the diffusion of responsibility means that the investors will not feel badly about the actions the company takes on their behalf. Without ending that diffusion of responsibility, government measures will be simple stopgaps that never fully resolve the problem.

Re:Responsibility Diffused (1)

cyborch (524661) | more than 5 years ago | (#26824581)

Corporations exist to increase the public wealth.

No they don't.

They exist to increase their owners personal wealth. Increasing public wealth is a side effect of having employees.

Re:Responsibility Diffused (1)

spun (1352) | more than 5 years ago | (#26829791)

Companies exist to increase their shareholder's personal wealth. The corporate structure, enforced and protected by government, exists to increase the public wealth. Without the rules and structures created and maintained by government, corporations as such could not exist. All we would have are sole proprietorships and partnerships. Why then do governments create and maintain corporate structures? Simply to increase the wealth of their stakeholders? Or is it in fact to increase the public wealth?

Re:Responsibility Diffused (1)

FallLine (12211) | more than 5 years ago | (#26844713)

Without the rules and structures created and maintained by government, corporations as such could not exist. All we would have are sole proprietorships and partnerships.

If you simply mean this tautologically, i.e., a corporation wouldn't be a corporation without laws to recognize its existence, then OK. However, if you mean that large for-profit organizations with limited liability for its owners are impossible, then this depends on the legal environment that such an entity exists in. Without laws that give creditors the right to pursue investors or attorneys the ability try to sue investors for alleged torts similar entities can exist without necessarily requiring any positive action on the part of government (or even necessarily a government at all). In fact, many of the early big companies were NOT founded as corporations but instead as trusts, partnerships, etc. That being said, our well established body of corporate law is a fairly optimal way to create such entities and it would be significantly harder without it.

Why then do governments create and maintain corporate structures? Simply to increase the wealth of their stakeholders? Or is it in fact to increase the public wealth?

Leaving aside the fact that corporations do not have a monopoly on amoral behavior (see government, non-profit organizations, political groups, individuals, religious groups, etc)... Society benefits when large amounts of risk capital can be efficiently accumulated and invested in productive activities. This helps efficiently create jobs, goods, and services that modern society benefits greatly from. Wealth is created and spread throughout society precisely because this tends to be efficient. Our modern economy requires an efficient mechanism to limit shareholder liability and provide a well understood legal framework in which all stakeholders have clearly defined rights.

Some activities can ONLY be produced on a large scale and most are done far more efficiently on large scale. Consider a semiconductor or LCD factory, a car company, drug R&D and manufacture, industrial scale farming, logging, and so on. The number of partners in a partnership scales very poorly. Let's suppose the optimal number is 20. Exactly how many very rich people out there have both the desire and enough liquid capital to invest in such an multi-billion dollar enterprise? Now what about all other large enterprises that require capital?

You should also consider what would happen to the wealth of society if there were not an efficient vehicle for people to invest their wealth. If corporations were not available to utilize capital, there would simply be much less investment opportunity. You might argue that the void left by the disappearing corporations of the world would be filled by Mom and Pops, and this might be true to some extent, but their ability to produce goods and services at all or at a price an affordable (never mind equally affordable) price would be limited. Capital that would otherwise be invested in corporations would either be not invested at all (due to lack of risk/reward) or be invested in poorly performing activities. This lost investment return would also not be available for re-investment. Likewise, consider where that would leave the retirement funds of the average person. Are they supposed to invest their entire life savings in the mom and pop down the street? The loss of wealth would be HUGE.

Finally, an empirical analysis does not support your apparent opinion that we'd be better off without corporations. If anything, the results show very much to the opposite. Consider food safety today vs 50, 100, or 200 years ago. Consider farm productivity (look at the price of food vs the average pay check), average real wages, work place safety, the affordability and quality of goods and services available today, novel medical devices/medicines, etc.... On the whole people today in this country (and others like us) are much better off than they used to be and large for-profit enterprise (largely corporations) has been at the center of most of this for the past 100 years at least. While the distance the corporation creates between its shareholders and its day to day operations might shield the shareholders, you'd do well to remember that there are also mechanisms in place that encourage it to behave in a moral and generally positive fashion. A large company with, say, 30% market share has a) far more of a brand (to win or lose) b) is far easier to identify its misdeeds than one of many tiny businesses competing in the broader marketplace c) has much deeper pockets to sue d) is a much easier target for government enforcement action relative to its scope e) has more ability systematically attack risk elements. In addition, the shareholder can still easily lose their entire investment and an argument can be made that agency situation with management actually might encourage than to err to the side of safety more than if they actually had a large direct ownership stake on average (they're likely to get hurt politically if they can tied to a corporate problem but get little direct benefit for actual profits).

Re:Responsibility Diffused (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 5 years ago | (#26818381)

Why is it that corporations are expected, even encouraged, to act amorally, but we expect morality to be enforced by our government?

Because that's how we set the system up. Corporations are an artificial construct of the government and are an economic tool. If we want them to be a tool for social change, then the most obvious path is to make that rule change in government.

Personal Responsibility (1)

spun (1352) | more than 5 years ago | (#26818577)

Well yes. I am trying to point out that the problems stem from the diffusion of responsibility inherent in the corporate structure. Very few people would poison a village for profit. Yet most people would invest in a company that poisoned a village for profit. So rather than petition the government to fix one problem by, say, sanctioning Egypt, we could fix a whole host of problems by enforcing what most Americans claim to desire: personal responsibility. People who invest in a company should be personally liable for the actions of that company, just as sole proprietors and partnerships are. No more limited liability for anyone.

Re:Personal Responsibility (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 5 years ago | (#26818773)

What you are suggesting is not necessary. SOMEONE still makes a decision that "poisons a village". SOMEONE is still responsible, and can be charged criminally. Whether that person works for a corporation or not is irrelevant, since a corporation does not give you protection from criminal offenses. Simply make the things you want to prevent criminal offenses... why dismantle civil limited liability?

Getting back to Egypt. If you want Vodafone to be restricted from giving away customer information to the Egyptian police, then the only way to do that is to force them to pull out of Egypt... they clearly aren't going to do this on their own, and you can't expect them to refuse to obey local law enforcement.

Re:Responsibility Diffused (1)

mi (197448) | more than 5 years ago | (#26819651)

Why is it that corporations are expected, even encouraged, to act amorally, but we expect morality to be enforced by our government?

Because corporations have to compete. The one with the least ethics will win, unless the government enforces the minimum ethics standards for all — this, BTW, is the only legitimate reason for government regulation, but I digress.

The US has very strong anti-bribery law (Foreign Corrupt Practices Act [wikipedia.org] ), which prohibits and severely punishes [npr.org] bribery of foreign officials by corporations.

What's needed is some kind of FCPA-2.0, that would expand the definition of "corrupt practices" to include cooperation with oppressive governments. This should be done sooner, rather than later — while the said governments don't have good alternatives registered in less scrupulous locales. In particular, it may be too late for cell-phones. Whatever business Vodafone may lose because of higher ethics standards, may be picked up by Thuraya [wikipedia.org] , for example.

Unfortunately, our new administration may view such things as silly "ideological rigidity". In fact, all, that a rogue regime needs to do to get our "hand of friendship", may be to "unclench their fist" (directed at us). That their other fist — one directed towards their own subjects — will remain just as (or even more) suffocating is not important, as long as "America's prestige is restored".

Re:This is Government's Job, Not Corporations (1)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 5 years ago | (#26818057)

If we have a problem with the actions of the Egyptian government, then there are numerous ways for us to apply pressure.

And they don't seem to be working. Your idea of sanctions has been tried and tried before ... look at Iran. Did you know that a lot of Iranian people hold United States citizens responsible for the deaths of sick and hungry people in their country. Because we impose sanctions on them (nevermind the UN does it too) and ours are so strict that we refuse them medicine.

If Egypt is acting poorly ...

If Egypt is acting poorly? Take the case of newly released Philip Rizk [nytimes.com] who was held for five days without reason. And the only reason he was treated so well was that he has dual citizenship with Germany. Look into how they treat members of the Muslim Brotherhood or their own citizens in the name of the war on terror. Many people are disappeared daily that don't get media attention because they aren't foreigners.

If you don't like that, then forbid Vodafone from operating there - don't complain that they are playing by the home field rules.

Well, you can't target a single company with a sanction, can you? It'd have to be the entire industry and I would like to see how Egyptian citizens react to the United States doing that.

You know, we give Egypt so much money to keep their Human Rights up to standard with the UN and they just take our money and laugh [nytimes.com] . Makes me mad and I hope it makes you mad too. Because those are our tax dollars funding that state police gestapo crap.

Re:This is Government's Job, Not Corporations (1)

Znork (31774) | more than 5 years ago | (#26818459)

we give Egypt so much money to keep their Human Rights up to standard with the UN

Somehow I think the message may get slightly diluted from the rendering operations where the services of Egyptian torturers get used.

Maybe we could impose sanctions on the torture service industry as a start...

Re:This is Government's Job, Not Corporations (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26829625)

No, no, see, you just have to TAX it.

Re:This is Government's Job, Not Corporations (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 5 years ago | (#26818547)

And they don't seem to be working.

I thought the issue here was morality? Is it moral for Vodafone to do business in Egypt, when they have to do immoral things to stay there?

Even if sanctions don't work, if it is not moral to do business in a country, how can you support your country doing business there? So what if Russia supports Iran? That makes Russia immoral, and that's no reason to join them.

If Egypt is acting poorly?

You don't have to convince me, but just about every country in the world is happy to do business there.

Well, you can't target a single company with a sanction, can you?

Why the heck not? But I don't see why the law wouldn't be made general: "Any company or person handing over personal data...".

Because those are our tax dollars funding that state police gestapo crap.

Yup, but I don't pretend to know what the solution is. Stop supporting the regime in Egypt? Then what? Saudi Arabia? Every non-democracy? It's a really, really complicated world. I'd certainly like to see the US trend toward only actively supporting democracies - perhaps some international organization like the UN which is invitation only with rigid human rights criteria would be a good start.

Re:This is Government's Job, Not Corporations (1)

Nazlfrag (1035012) | more than 5 years ago | (#26822933)

It would also make you giant hypocrites as the US government has done exactly the same thing regarding phone companies and inhumane detention.

Re:This is Government's Job, Not Corporations (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 5 years ago | (#26818825)

Frankly, if I were a Vodafone exec in a country with a reputation "of torturing and murdering detainies, or having them 'disappear'" I'd probably cough up information pretty readily, too. If you don't like that, then forbid Vodafone from operating there - don't complain that they are playing by the home field rules.

The point here is that the definition for being a "good corporate citizen" should extend beyond "making boat-loads of cash-ola for the stockholders". It should also involve some form of ethics that do not include facilitating torture.

Remember, incorporation in most countries involves a favorable leagl status for the corporation. In return the corporation should benifit not only the stockholders, but society as a whole.

Re:This is Government's Job, Not Corporations (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 5 years ago | (#26819055)

It should also involve some form of ethics that do not include facilitating torture.

Okay, so make that into a law. Harassing Vodafone might feel good, but isn't going to change the situation.

Re:This is Government's Job, Not Corporations (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 5 years ago | (#26819213)

Okay, so make that into a law. Harassing Vodafone might feel good, but isn't going to change the situation.

Depends. If it adversly effects Vodafone's bottom line, it might...

Re:This is Government's Job, Not Corporations (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 5 years ago | (#26819377)

It would have to effect Vodafone's bottom line more than pulling out of Egypt would. I doubt you could pull this off, and certainly not with less effort than it would take to influence your national government.

Re:This is Government's Job, Not Corporations (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 5 years ago | (#26818935)

Something your missing is that the portion of any company doing business in any other country then they are based from are subject to the laws of the country they are doing business in. This means that if Egypt or China has a law requiring the information to be turned over, if they don't, not only can the be bared from doing business in those countries, but their corporate personnel who are operating inside the country who also refuse to hand the information over are subject to penalties of those laws.

If Egypt truly does "disappear", Torture and kill their prisoners and suspects, then I'm not sure why exposing the execs of Vodaphone to that warrants any more carelessness then the people the government are looking after. Are Vodaphone employees any less important in life, will their families not suffer just the same with them locked up in prison or missing forever? The best they can do is make the information public that they complied with it so any criminal activities that were perpetrated by necessity can be covered and those responsible can take actions to protect themselves. The disadvantage is that regular criminals will be able to do the same but that seems like an even trade.

What would you do in their situation? Throw your loyal employees into a situation where they are facing everything you fear for the others or protect them by handing the information over and then disclosing it another country where it's outside the reach of the Egyptian government and hope it leaks back into the country to protect the innocent who were acting out of necessity?

I'm not sure why people think some dissident is more important then another human being.

Re:This is Government's Job, Not Corporations (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26819045)

Right or wrong Vodafones ethic is to return maximum value to the share holders. Unless they publish somewhere that this isn't what they agreed too and the share holders agreed then whats the difference?

The more interesting part of this story was that the Egyptians had to riot because lack of food.

Re:This is Government's Job, Not Corporations (1)

unlametheweak (1102159) | more than 5 years ago | (#26819065)

Frankly, if I were a Vodafone exec in a country with a reputation "of torturing and murdering detainies, or having them 'disappear'" I'd probably cough up information pretty readily, too.

Not me. I would do everything in my power to undermine the country, much like the Western oil company's did in Venezuela when Hugo Chavez came to power. But too many people are like you; ready and willing to condone or take part in murder, torture and violence just like that bitch Annie Mullins from Vodophone, who

is heavily involved in various initiatives to prevent online child abuse, including the Internet Watch Foundation, added that the UK technology industry had "very positive" examples of self regulation.

(Ref: http://news.zdnet.co.uk/itmanagement/0,1000000308,39614610,00.htm [zdnet.co.uk] ). So she's actively involved in dubious organizations and thinks the UK police state is"very positive" and apparently expects people to take her seriously. The wrong people will inevitably, almost always get into positions of power. I only wish more of them were assassinated more often.

Re:This is Government's Job, Not Corporations (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 5 years ago | (#26819289)

too many people are like you;

I would never take a job as a Vodafone exec in Egypt. I was simply trying to emphasize that ANY telecom doing business in Egypt will suffer this fate - it is inevitable.

The oil companies in Venezuela preceded Chavez - it was in their best interest not to be nationalized. Vodafone did not enter Egypt when it was a bastion of democracy. The conditions are similar to when they entered the market. They should have just stayed out if they didn't want to be in this position.

Re:This is Government's Job, Not Corporations (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 5 years ago | (#26829137)

If I were a Vodafone exec, I think I'd recommend that the company not do business in any country with a reputation "of torturing and murdering detainies, or having them 'disappear'" in the first place.

Re:This is Government's Job, Not Corporations (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 5 years ago | (#26829459)

Yup, I'm with you on that one. In reality, I would never be a Vodafone exec in Egypt... I simply wouldn't take that job. However, if for some reason I did have that job, I certainly won't be the one risking life, limb, and family to make an ultimately meaningless defiant gesture.

Re:This is Government's Job, Not Corporations (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26829465)

I having lived in Egypt, know of the corruption that is found among law enforcement, as is quite common in other 3rd world countries. However my impression is that Egypt is actually much less strict in their observance of 'harahm' (thieves) than most muslim countries (the typical punishment being the loss of ones hand). While lives may possibly be harmed in interrogation or in confinement how many lives are being affected by the shortage of food? How many lives would be affected if false accusations were made. Although somewhat of a quandary I feel that ultimately Vodafone made a good decision albeit a hard one. What would we do in said situation? Companies have the responsibility to honor, respect and SUSTAIN the law in whatever country they are operating, not only was it in their moral interest to act as they did but also was it their legal and civic duty to support the government in their host country. Vodafone is 1 of the 2 major cell phone providers in Egypt and has a lot to fight for. I believe that no matter how you look at it they didn't have much choice.

And in other news Vodafone gets a big deal with po (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 5 years ago | (#26817801)

And in other news Vodafone gets a big deal with police to run there phone system.

eh? (3, Insightful)

goldcd (587052) | more than 5 years ago | (#26817807)

"It's nice to have it confirmed that multinational service providers shelve morals in the pursuit of cash."
Exactly which world are you living in, their entire remit is to make as much cash for their shareholders as possible - and board get a kicking (or even prosecuted) if they don't.
Exactly how many companies do you think had their share price rise on the news they sacrified some profits to do the moral thing?

Re:eh? (1)

nametaken (610866) | more than 5 years ago | (#26818141)

Starbucks.

Though the nice part for them is Starbucks doesn't operate a comms company in Egypt.

Re:eh? (1)

Yokaze (70883) | more than 5 years ago | (#26818313)

> Exactly how many companies do you think had their share price rise on the news they sacrified some profits to do the moral thing?

Well, when it's in the news, it's advertisement and will very likely increased the overall profit.
The real question is, how many companies have done the morale thing, without doing a cost/benefit analysis.

I don't invest in amoral companies (1)

spun (1352) | more than 5 years ago | (#26818691)

So I really can't speak for people who do. People who do invest in amoral companies, do you feel guilty at all? Would you personally do the things those companies do? If not, why is it okay to profit from things you personally find reprehensible? Is it just something you don't think about? Is it okay because 'everyone is doing it?' Or do you just tell yourself a story about how it's all lies and corporations don't do bad things?

Re:I don't invest in amoral companies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26819299)

You don't? So no 401K? No index fund? No interest bearing account with your local bank?

Most of us have these types of investments. Most corporate stock is held by these managed shared funds. Odds are we are all supporting a company whose business practices we don't agree with.

Hmmm (1)

goldcd (587052) | more than 5 years ago | (#26819877)

I've thought about this a few times.
"why is it okay to profit from things you personally find reprehensible?"
I guess we all participate in things we find personally reprehensible. I don't agree with everything the tax I pay is spent on. Should I stop paying tax? Should I emigrate to a country where I agree with 100% of how my taxes are spent? Maybe aim for 90%? (but then would that be number of things, or take into account my strength of opinion on different matters).
To be honest, I just don't know - which makes this entire post somewhat pointless...

Maybe instead of marking down companies you won't invest in, you should seize the chance to pick and choose that investments give to target 'good'. e.g. Oil is running out, we'll need energy, so investing in non-oil energy seems theoretically like a good thing (from a financial point of view, irrespective of other considerations). Personally I'm all for nuclear, in the short term at least, as the benefits massively outweigh the negatives in my mind - but then some will insist that it's solar/wind/wave or nothing.
Another point is that unless these companies you hate cease to exist magically, how does one go about stopping them being 'bad'. From their point of view they are there to serve the shareholders, you're not a shareholder, they don't care what you think. Buy enough shares and you can make them bend to your will. Buy all the shares and you can wind up the company on the spot. You don't like Exxon - buy it and stop it. Except that wouldn't work - another company with more willing shareholders would step in to fill the gap and you'd just end up a load poorer, passing the benefit onto the 'new evil' and their 'new evil shareholders'
Basically unless everybody agrees on what's wrong and stops it, you can't stop it. So a right/wrong that the majority agree on is basically a law - so with a little leap of logic, if it's not illegal, you're very unlikely to stop it. i.e. you're wasting your time picking on individual companies as that's pointless, the focus should be on restraining them all through laws.
Now laws are per country - so currently they'd just jump ship to a more 'relaxed' regime.. so we need to remove that as well - basically we need to merge all countries into a single.. oh.. well that's not going to happen in my life-time.

Re:I don't invest in amoral companies (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 5 years ago | (#26821027)

What *do* you invest in, then?

Are you saying you seriously have the time to research enough companies to have a well-balanced portfolio of non-amoral companies?

Or are you saying you've got your money in the bank, where their investments in amoral companies pay your interest, but it's ok because you only get a tiny pittance of the spoils.

Re:I don't invest in amoral companies (1)

spun (1352) | more than 5 years ago | (#26827913)

I'm saying I'm poor.

Re:I don't invest in amoral companies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26866071)

Ah, so that explains al of your posts. You are envious of all of those who are rich or moderately wealthy. Although greed is one of the seven deadly sins you are no better when you are envious and jealous of others. No wonder you want government control of everything, you are amongst the worthless. ROFLMAO!

Re:I don't invest in amoral companies (1)

spun (1352) | more than 5 years ago | (#26868961)

No, I choose to live frugally and give away much of what I earn. I make decent money, but far from what I could be making if I cared more about material things. Nice try at hurting me, but it kinda misses the mark.

Re:I don't invest in amoral companies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26899057)

Living off of others is not "earning" anything. To earn something you have to work for it and you need to have brains in order to work. Shit you don't even know the difference between macro and micro economics. How do I know this? Simple, to you all businesses are somehow "evil", even the small businesses. Then you use dumb-fuck examples that proves you can differentiate between macro and micro economics. You are also so fucking stupid you want the government to make all of the decisions for you. To top it all off, libertarianism=conservatism in your small, feeble mind. Overall, you are so fucking stupid. If you have adegree then ask for them to refund your money, all of it.

Re:I don't invest in amoral companies (1)

spun (1352) | more than 5 years ago | (#26901973)

First, who's living off of others? Second, Micro and macro economics have nothing to do with whether a business is evil or not. Which I never said they are. I also never said I want government to make all my decisions for me. Finally, I may dislike both conservatives and libertarians, but I know more about the differences than you do.

In closing, let me just say thank you. Pissing off small minded idiots is one of my true pleasures in life. Your level of powerless, frothing rage is like a fine wine or a gourmet meal to me. Please, by all means, keep raging. You're obviously so mad you can't even think straight, you're obsessing over me and coming back to discussions days later. It's astounding, but gratifying.

Re:eh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26829655)

Exactly how many companies do you think had their share price rise on the news they sacrified some profits to do the moral thing?

Not many enough. Perhaps things will improve, but I'm not hopeful that they will anytime soon.

Or? (2, Interesting)

Sj0 (472011) | more than 5 years ago | (#26817811)

You know, if authorities known for torture, murder, and making people "disappear" demanded something from me, I'd give it to 'em.

Call me an evil capitalist pig, but I don't want to piss off people like that.

Re:Or? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26820705)

You, sir, are an evil capitalist pig.

Providers shelve morals in the pursuit of cash (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26817823)

No.

It shows they obey the law enforcement orders of even crappy lawless countries just like they do in the US of A.

yeah? (4, Informative)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 5 years ago | (#26817837)

It's pretty unrealistic to expect companies to violate the laws of the countries they operate in. It is sure to damage their own business (which is their reason d'etre), and their employees could go to jail.

Re:yeah? (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 5 years ago | (#26817979)

and their employees could go to jail.

Jail or "murdered" or just "disappear."

Re:yeah? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26829777)

Convenient excuse, isn't it? You are aware of the vast multitude of examples where the very same excuse has been used throughout history, aren't you? It's really quite sickening. Unrealistic, my ass. With a minimum of standards for ethics and morals, any decent company would decide to not operate in a country with such laws in the first place.

Bah. Some companies should grow a fucking backbone.

Vodafone Hands Data To USA Police (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26817897)

"A Vodafone exec has admitted the company handed communications data to the USA police following riots over food shortages last year, to aid the identification of suspects. USA law enforcement has a habit of torturing and murdering detainees, or of having them 'disappear.' This is similar to Yahoo handing details of Chinese dissidents over to the authorities in 2005. It's nice to have it confirmed that multinational service providers shelve morals in the pursuit of cash."

Jesus Christ! (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 5 years ago | (#26817917)

So far the majority opinion (at only about 10 comments) seems to be that this is okay!

What the hell happened to the ethics of Americans? This is no longer the country I grew up in. It makes me sick.

Re:Jesus Christ! (3, Insightful)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 5 years ago | (#26818021)

Thanks for you obviously well reasoned argument. No one thinks it is okay for Egypt to torture anyone. However, if you operate in a country, you better follow the laws there. If an ISP is required by a court order to turn someone in who is looking at naked 17-year olds, they better do so. Even if someone's opinion is that there is nothing wrong with this.

I don't want companies setting legal boundaries. If we don't like Egypt's was of running things, then we apply pressure on a governmental level, not through proxies because we are too big of wusses to address the issue ourselves.

For me, I figure we have enough problems to address here in the U.S. to keep us busy for a while.

Re:Jesus Christ! (2, Insightful)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 5 years ago | (#26818489)

It was obviously not intended as a "well-reasoned" argument. It was an opinion, nothing more or less. I am perfectly capable of well-reasoned arguments when I wish, but I do have opinions too. Generally, it is easy to distinguish between them!

Corporations have choices about where they operate. It is NOT a valid argument to say "If we did not do this, someone else would." That does not change the ethics of the situation at all. For example, when Google said (as they very openly did) when deciding whether to censor Chinese internet, "If we don't do it, someone else will," Google did not thereby absolve themselves of the evil they are doing.

If they choose to operate in a country that has laws and ethics of its own, then that company is CHOOSING to adopt the ethics of that country. It is a clear and conscious choice, not some random happenstance. And they are responsible for that choice. Saying that "the law here requires us..." is not an excuse. They knew the nature of the laws when they decided to operate there. If they did not, then they are idiots... and I do not think they are idiots. Just unethical bastards.

Re:Jesus Christ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26818843)

If they choose to operate in a country that has laws and ethics of its own, then that company is CHOOSING to adopt the ethics of that country. It is a clear and conscious choice, not some random happenstance. And they are responsible for that choice. Saying that "the law here requires us..." is not an excuse. They knew the nature of the laws when they decided to operate there. If they did not...

...then they most assuredly do now, and thus, by continuing to do business in that country, they have chosen to adopt the ethics of that country.

(You had a good argument going there; I'm not sure why you decided to abandon it at the end in favor of petty insults when it was easy enough to wrap it up with logic.)

Re:Jesus Christ! (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 5 years ago | (#26818965)

That argument was already clearly made by implication. Reardless, the final part is also completely logical: "Since I do not believe they are idiots, the only other logical conclusion is that they are unethical bastards." (By my personal standards, of course.)

Re:Jesus Christ! (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 5 years ago | (#26819149)

Okay, fine. They are unethical bastards. Now that you feel better by giving them a label, what do you plan on doing about it. As I see it, you can:
1. Direct efforts toward Vodafone, getting them to eventually pull out of Egypt.
2. Direct efforts towards your national government, getting them to sanction Vodafone (and others in a similar position) for doing business with Egypt.

My argument is that while both are a long shot, #2 is the only one you'd have any hope of pulling off without buying a considerable amount of Vodafone voting stock. In addition, you get the bonus prize of not having to repeat your efforts on the company that sets up shop in Egypt to replace Vodafone.

Re:Jesus Christ! (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 5 years ago | (#26820301)

I disagree. Don't underestimate the power of boycott. It has worked wonders before. Which is one example of [1].

But in general, I would probably do both.

Regardless, to reiterate the point I made, any company that took the place of Vodafone would simply be committing the same ethical violations as Vodafone (by the standards of many Western nations). I do NOT acknowledge the corporate argument "If we don't do it someone else will" to be a valid substitute for responsibility.

Re:Jesus Christ! (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 5 years ago | (#26821363)

But in general, I would probably do both.

Yes, I actually meant to include that in my post but forgot. Of course, now you are splitting your efforts.

I do NOT acknowledge the corporate argument "If we don't do it someone else will" to be a valid substitute for responsibility.

And I wasn't making that argument. But without government action, getting Vodafone to pull out is sure to give another western company a crack at the market. If you have government action, then that would become impossible. Sure, they'd still get the network up using gray or black market stuff, but at least your particular country would have clean hands. Sanctions do not seem to work in terms of changing a regime (Cuba, Iran, and North Korea spring to mind), so clean hands is about all you can aspire to.

Of course, there is the other argument that says engagement is the way to go - and it also has merit. Cell phones, after all, are used to communicate and should weaken an authoritarian rule - even as they are simultaneously used as tools of oppression.

Re:Jesus Christ! (1)

Shihar (153932) | more than 5 years ago | (#26820633)

Companies are dumb amoral entities that don't make laws. They follow them. The vast majority of the companies in the world follow the letter of the law. They don't sit around deciding what laws to violate and what to follow. Even if they wanted to start violating the laws of other nations on moral grounds, how would they decide which to follow and which to violate?

It is the responsibility of nations to set the laws that corporations follow. Set "moral" laws and corporations are for the most part moral. In this case, the burden is on Britain, and by extension of Britain having a representative government, Britain's people, to determine how the corporation should morally act. If the British are upset at the law abiding behavior of their corporations, they need to change their laws. They could easily ban companies that do business in Britain from operating in Egypt. That would have prevented this entire ordeal.

Of course, it is a lot easier to angrily demand act as anything other than the dumb deterministic legal devices that they are than it is to demand that your own government impose morality on its legal entities. It certainly isn't unprecedented for companies to be legislated into moral behavior. A company that operates in the US (and I assume EU has something similar) is required by law to not give or accept bribes anywhere in the world. If you are caught giving a bribe in Thailand you can be smacked in California. This almost certainly keeps some companies form setting up operations in some nations. You could do the same thing for human rights, you just have to accept the economic consequences of shutting out over half of the world from your economy.

Re:Jesus Christ! (was not a businessman) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26821981)

Have you forgotten the cardinal rule of capitalism? Open access to information affords the individual the option to make up their own mind. Good thing you aren't discussing this openly, in Egypt or China, right?

BTW - in case you haven't noticed, you have no right to secure telecommunications, in any country.

At least the Vodafone exec is willing to let people the world over in on the open secret... I'd say that's a luxury not all business persons are willing to take for granted, even well after the fact.

Re:Jesus Christ! (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 5 years ago | (#26818041)

Interesting, you automatically assume the first 10 comments ARE Americans? I am, but it's an interesting assumption.

Secondly, what about these ethics? I am a minority here, with my thoughts about right, wrong, morality, and ethics. But I'm curious - what ethics do you speak of? Acting for the good of the Egyptian people vs. acting for the good of the company/shareholders/profit? How about acting for the good of your employees vs. acting for teh good of the Egyptian people? Hm. What SHOULD they have done? Or how about, what SHOULD this ONE executive have done? I suppose he should have said, to the government of the country he was working inside of and had agreed to abide by the laws of, "No way. You're corrupt. There's no way I'm going to give you the information that you require of me even though it is within your right as a government to require it." That would have gone over well.

But hey. Various religious groups are murdered all over the world for simply believing in a religion that the government doesn't particularly like (yes, usually Islamic countries like Iran, etc). We don't get upset over that very often, so why get upset over this?

Note: This is partially devil's-advocate posting. And I probably would be murdered in the aforementioned Islamic countries.

Re:Jesus Christ! (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 5 years ago | (#26818683)

No, I did not assume they were all Americans (and in fact your point did occur to me), but the odds are that most of them were.

WhatI am saying is: when a company chooses to do business in a country where the laws and ethics are different from those of its native country, then that company is CHOOSING to adopt those laws and ethics. It is not a random occurrence, it is a free choice. If they don't think that their actions there will affect opinions in the native country, then they are dreaming a very strange dream.

I am not saying that they should not have complied with the law. I am saying that by doing business in that country, they have ACCEPTED the laws and ethics of that country. They can't have that both ways! And I sure as hell have an opinion about companies that DECIDE to do business in countries that have significantly less freedom than most Western nations. We don't know that it is a matter of "their employees vs. the Egyption people". In fact, there is good evidence that the information will be used in ways that Americans would consider unacceptable, in order to hurt Egyptians, many of them probably innocent.

And, since you asked, one (but not the only) reason I am concerned is that multi-national corporations such as that may very well accept the "lowest common denominator" when it comes to their corporate ethics. It has certainly happened before.

Re:Jesus Christ! (1)

Sj0 (472011) | more than 5 years ago | (#26819083)

The United States, until very recently, was no better than Egypt.

You have no idea how much Obama is increasing the world's opinion of y'all.

Re:Jesus Christ! (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 5 years ago | (#26820187)

I agree with you about the Bush administration, but if what you are saying is true then that's very sad, because back here at home he really isn't doing much in the way of good. He has appointed RIAA lawyers to influential seats, for example. His first month in office, as far as I am concerned, has demonstrated not "change you can believe in", but "mostly no change at all", and in other places "changes you don't want". And make no mistake... I am no Republican.

Re:Jesus Christ! (1)

Sj0 (472011) | more than 5 years ago | (#26820461)

He's signed executive orders to close all the illegal secret prisons, completely denounced torture, gone on Arab TV and extended an olive branch, and advocates a more open foreign policy, rather than "Do what we want or you're worse than garbage".

Issues of fundamental human rights and foreign policy come long before anything the RIAA has ever done. "Are you monsters who cause people you disagree with politically to 'disappear'?" is a more important question than "Is a corporation getting away with abusing copyright law slightly?"

Re:Jesus Christ! (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 5 years ago | (#26820689)

Yes, that is true. But I was referring what he was doing here, within our own borders.

While I applaud what he is doing about foreign policy and things like Guantanamo, we have plenty of domestic problems, too, and so far he has not been helping them much if any. Within limits anyway, the opinions of people overseas about my government do not put food on my table.

And while I agree with most of your last paragraph in general, it does belittle an important point. "Slightly" does not accurately describe the situation. What about OUR OWN human rights? Including the right of citizens to follow the principles of our Constitution, unmolested by corporations (and government) that do not? That is a much bigger issue than just a few lost dollars. If simple copyright issues were the only example, it wouldn't be so bad. But there are many others.

As far as foreign policy and Geneva convention go, if it were not Obama making changes then it would have been someone else, because the U.S. populace was very clearly fed up with the garbage. The actions of our government were quite clearly NOT in tune with what the people wanted. If they were, someone like McCain would have been elected.

So I do not give Obama much credit for that. Any other new president would do approximately the same, or he would be lynched. What remains is what he does on his own... and so far he is not making a very good showing, in my humble opinion.

Re:Jesus Christ! (1)

Sj0 (472011) | more than 5 years ago | (#26820813)

I agree completely that there needs to be a complete attitude change in Washington, and Obama isn't it.

I'm just happy for what I can get. I haven't visited the US in years, because I'm literally afraid of you guys. You've been taking my countrymen and sending them to Syria to be tortured. Any improvement is a welcome one.

Re:Jesus Christ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26818099)

What the hell happened to the ethics of Americans?

The unquenchable desire for profit.

Shareholders invest in companies to make money, not to feel good about themselves.

I also found it amusing that you assumed the previous 10 posters were all American ^_^.

Re:Jesus Christ! (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 5 years ago | (#26818581)

I think it's more a case of:

If you would refuse to give information to the authorities who have "a habit of torturing and murdering detainees, or of having them 'disappear'" then feel free to criticize away. If you would though, then lets not be hypocrites.

Re:Jesus Christ! (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 5 years ago | (#26818795)

I am not being a hypocrite. The crux of the matter is: I would not have put myself in a situation such that I had to turn that information over in the first place.

I would not do business in a country where I had moral or ethical problems with the laws. That is a free choice the corporation made, and this demand for information was a direct result of that choice. So they have nobody to blame but themselves, and I don't mind saying so. When they willingly adopt the laws and ethics of another country, I will judge them according to the choices that they made. There is nothing hypocritical about that.

Re:Jesus Christ! (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 5 years ago | (#26818649)

So far the majority opinion (at only about 10 comments) seems to be that this is okay!

You've completely misconstrued my argument. I'm not saying that this is "okay". I'm saying that people like the one who wrote the summary are misplacing their anger and efforts. Vodafone is not where we should expend our energy... why is a European company allowed to do business in an environment where police can confiscate records in a way that most Europeans would judge to be a violation of human rights? It's fine to attack Vodafone and they deserve it... but it isn't productive and will never advance your cause, unless your cause is to simply be anti-corporate.

Re:Jesus Christ! (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 5 years ago | (#26818881)

No, just anti-Vodafone. They made choices, including the choice to do business in a country whose laws are barbaric to much of the West. But in doing so, they have willingly adopted those laws and ethics. I can and will judge them for that freely-made choice. It is not a matter of "to deliver the records or not deliver the records". They made that decision when they agreed to the laws of the country in which they are doing business. The issue is, and was: "Should I do business in this country, which has laws that are considered reprehensible by most civilized nations?"

They answered yes, and they did so in the name of profit. They are responsible for that decision.

Re:Jesus Christ! (1)

rts008 (812749) | more than 5 years ago | (#26820505)

Welcome to the 'new, improved corporate America'.
It's easy: just remember this one thought:
"Hurray for me, and fsck you!"

See, isn't that easy to remember?

What the hell happened to the ethics of Americans? This is no longer the country I grew up in. It makes me sick.

It is still here, you just have to search harder for it unfortunately.

If any of your grand-parents are still alive, ask them about it. You may be surprised to find out they know exactly how you are feeling right now.

Hmm... (2, Insightful)

kabocox (199019) | more than 5 years ago | (#26818031)

Some one in the US, or another somewhat free country complaining that multinational companies operating in not so nice countries abide by the not so nice countries' laws.

No duh. They don't want bad things to happen to their employees or such in that country. Sometimes the countries decide to "nationalize" "foreign" industries. I wouldn't want that if I were a multinational company. It's easy to complain about another country sitting here. Why don't you complain to the companies offices in said country for following the local laws. (Heck, the US has laws that basically say that companies and individuals have to turn over what the government whats when it says it needs it.)

As an example look at the previous slashdot article about a TX judge ordering topix to turn over trolls ID info so that they can be personally sued. There is no difference between the two requests to any multinational company. It's a legally valid request from the government. You other obey it or face the consequences.

Re:Hmm... (1)

BentoMan (1462597) | more than 5 years ago | (#26818583)

"It's a legally valid request from the government. " Very well put. My point exactly.

Re:Hmm... (1)

kabocox (199019) | more than 5 years ago | (#26831123)

"It's a legally valid request from the government. " Very well put. My point exactly.

The only ones that can really "fight" a government is another government. Do we really want multinational companies to challenge existing governments?

There is a part of me that thinks that a multinational share holder owned company couldn't do worse than some countries. I wouldn't want a company trying to take over my country though. I think that the populations of even the worst run countries would have the same thoughts if any corporation tried taking charge and running things.

There is a part of me that would seriously like to see if it could be done while at the same time it scares me.

SHOCK! .com obeys laws of country they operate in. (1)

zonky (1153039) | more than 5 years ago | (#26818189)

Surely the BIG question is around Vodafone operating Call Centres in Egypt, that service Vodafone in other countries. (At least Vodafone New Zealand, and i imagine many more). Does this mean Egypt Govt could request access to my call data? Without my knowledge?

On the Shelving of Morals (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26818225)

It's nice to have it confirmed that multinational service providers shelve morals in the pursuit of cash."

So do millions and millions of tourists.

Unethical? What part? (1)

BentoMan (1462597) | more than 5 years ago | (#26818457)

Riots happened. Laws were broken. Police needed information. Vodafone provided information. I didn't see anything unethical or unlawful on the company's conduct. Neither do I see any reason the company should have acted any differently if it were a Russian company doing business in the U.S or U.K How true is it that the riots were a result of food shortage? How true is it that the police has a record of human rights violation? Don't roll your eyes and say it's a given for a third world Arab country. Give evidence to show you aren't dishing out shit forced down your throat. But let's just pretend that it's all true, that the riots were the result of food shortage AND the Egyptian police does have a record of human rights violations. Does food shortage justify riots? Does a tainted human rights record automatically illegalize the authority out of the police to ask for cooperation for evidence?

Re:Unethical? What part? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26818701)

Does food shortage justify riots? Does a tainted human rights record automatically illegalize the authority out of the police to ask for cooperation for evidence?

Yes and yes. You're an idiot.

Re:Unethical? What part? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26819255)

Does food shortage justify riots?

Does it matter? Do unjustified riots justify torturing the rioters after the fact?

Does a tainted human rights record automatically illegalize the authority out of the police to ask for cooperation for evidence?

The issue isn't whether the torture and murder are legal, but that they're immoral and that Vodafone is condoning them by continuing to do business there.

Re:Unethical? What part? (1)

BentoMan (1462597) | more than 5 years ago | (#26819381)

Torturing the rioters? Is that a fact? Any fact that the torture and murder actually happened? How can you say something is immoral even when you don't know if it happened? Read the article again, you'd find carefully planted suggestive words, like "known". Known to whom? Where are the facts?

Re:Unethical? What part? (1)

johndmartiniii (1213700) | more than 5 years ago | (#26825271)

The reality here is that the riots were partially the result of a movement that developed on Facebook [slashdot.org] and this is what concerns the government. Egypt is a weak state because the government does not operate with the permission or blessing of the people, is corrupt at ALL levels, and does not provide basic social services. This has caused a great deal of civil unrest here, which is always looking for a way to vent.

In the case of the "food riots" this spring, there was one riots, in an industrial city in the delta, which grew out of a protest/strike by workers there who had been refuse a raise in their salary allowances (salaries are fixed and this is compensated for by way of "allowances" for food and other expenses). A general strike was called for across the country via this movement online, but nothing happened. Since then the government here has increased its surveillance of both local and foreign residents in their use of communications technologies (ie- Apple disabling GPS in Egypt [slashdot.org] ).

Wow (1)

SupremoMan (912191) | more than 5 years ago | (#26818709)

People rioting over food shortages, and the police using excessive force to bring them down... sounds like a plot for a movie or something.

Hot damn! (1)

boarder8925 (714555) | more than 5 years ago | (#26819013)

Egyptian law enforcement has a habit of torturing and murdering detainees, or of having them 'disappear.'

Hot damn, isn't this what we do in Gitmo? What the CIA does abroad? What can happen to any American citizen if he is declared an "enemy combatant"? And you know it doesn't take much of anything for any citizen to qualify as an "enemy combatant." So the United States commits acts like this all the time but that's somehow all right because it's the U.S., yet when another country does the same thing it's suddenly horrible and atrocious and something that is Really Evil?

I am in no way agreeing with what Vodafone has done or what the Egyptian government has done and might do but am simply pointing out a double standard that has disgusted me for quite some time.

You mean Egypt is kinda like... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26819337)

...the countries that can and do (extraordinary) rendition detainees and hold them without legal representation? And then torture them? I see.

Corporations not the problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26819339)

Why is it some people automatically take the corporations to task instead of the governments that ordered the evil in the first place?

Last I checked, Yahoo, Google and Vodaphone don't command large armies armed with lots of guns. Egypt is a dicatorship, has been for decades. Or China, while its economic system is more capitalist than the US, is a government that is nationalist and communist.

If you are John Q Corporation, what would you do, faced with the well-armed draconian secret police on your doorstep? How can you even fight it? You would be shut down, there's no recourse as court systems are skewed.

So the question becomes: Do you want to continue making your living and providing for your family?

What about your employees and their families that depend on your business functioning and making profit?

What about the general public that consume your product or service?

What about other businesses and their employees that depend on your product or service?

What about the people that invested large sums of money in your business?

***Please, instead of attacking the corporations for this, attack the governments in question.***

Eh (1)

noundi (1044080) | more than 5 years ago | (#26827897)

It's nice to have it confirmed that multinational service providers shelve morals in the pursuit of cash.

Really? So we didn't know this already?

Verizon Wireless Parent Company (1)

laing (303349) | more than 5 years ago | (#26829995)

Just so you know who they are; Vodafone is the parent company of Verizon Wireless here in the USA.

What's the alternative? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26835245)

If multinational companies can unilaterally opt not to obey the laws of a country in which they do business, what laws remain?

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