The Great Debate

For Yahoo’s Yang, news keeps getting worse

– Eric Auchard is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own –

Jerry Yang’s elevation to chief executive at Yahoo Inc after a long period of decline at the Web pioneer had the air of a fairy tale where the noble prince grows up and restores his kingdom’s faded glory.

But Yang has worn his leadership like an ill-fitting coat since coming to power last year, appearing reluctant to make the dramatic restructuring moves analysts and investors have long considered vital to get Yahoo to reaccelerate its growth.

Yang made no concessions to the growing chorus of angry investors and media pundits calling for his ouster at a Web industry conference in London this week.

Avoiding questions about Microsoft’s recent rebuff to renewed merger talks between the two, Yang posed for photos in front of dancing singers in oddly chosen surgical costumes singing “Staying Alive,” jerryyangthe never-surrender disco anthem.

Principles for a better Web

Colin MaclayCaroline Nolan By Colin Maclay, Acting Executive Director, and Caroline Nolan, Research Associate, Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University

More than one billion people are online, with three times that amount connected via mobile devices, just one indication of how integrated digital technologies are with lives and livelihoods around the globe. While governments have for the most part encouraged these developments, they are increasingly aware of technology’s capacity to disrupt existing power structures and accordingly ambivalent. As governments seek to control information and online activities, private actors – information and communication technology (ICT) firms in particular – are increasingly called upon to assist in those efforts.

Many of us mistakenly assume that Internet governance doesn’t touch us, and maybe it doesn’t – what expression is allowed on the Net and whether your personal information is shared with law enforcement is often governed less by law and more by practice. As Jonathan Zittrain and John Palfrey have long argued, companies providing technology services are important Internet points of control  and are under great pressure to comply with local laws and practices, which can be at odds with international standards, corporate values, and social norms.