Google fails to score top ethical ranking due to China web censorship

LONDON - Google has failed to make the top ten of most ethical technology firms during 2008, largely because of its compliance to China's web censorship, according to the latest Covalence Ethical Ranking survey.

The internet giant was ranked 12th among the 36 multinational technology firms included in the study, and 64th out of a total of 541 firms, spanning 18 sectors. 

Google's ranking, despite its "do no evil" motto, was influenced by its bowing to China's web censorship rules, which meant it performed poorly in three criteria -- human rights policy, information to consumers and support to politicians. 

Most of the criticisms regarding Google and web censorship in China came from the US, the UK, France and Germany.

Since setting up a censored Chinese language search engine in 2005, Google has been under intense criticism for seemingly advocating internet censorship by complying with the Chinese government's demands on preventing searches on a host of subjects, including Tiananmen Square, Tibet, democracy, and Falun Gong.

On the more positive side, Google performed well on several criteria, including eco-innovative product, product social utility, social sponsorship, socially innovative product and United Nations policy.

The internet firm was outdone by Intel, which was ranked first among the technology firms, followed by Xerox, Dell, IBM, Ericsson, Sun Microsystems, Hewlett-Packard, Motorola, Cisco Systems, Nokia and Canon.

This was the first year Google was included in the Covalence Ethical Ranking, which was enlarged to cover over 541 firms in 2008. 

Geneva-based Covalence measures the ethical performance of multinational firms as it is perceived and communicated by society.

It uses a system called EthicalQuote, which integrates thousands of documents found among media, enterprise, NGOs and other sources. The data from these documents is coded, quantified and synthesized into curves and volumes, creating the rank. 

The rank is based on 45 criteria in total, which are classified into four groups -- working conditions, impact of production, impact of product, and institutional impact.

Covalence Ethical Ranking 2008 for the Technology sector:

1. Intel Corp
2. Xerox
3. Dell Computer
4. IBM
5. Ericsson
6. Sun Microsystems
7. Hewlett-Packard
8. Motorola
9. Cisco Systems
10. Nokia Corp
11. Canon Inc
12. Google
13. Microsoft
14. Alcatel-Lucent
15. Ricoh Co Ltd
16. Applied Materials
17. SAP
18. NEC
19. Texas Instruments
20. Oracle
21. Fujitsu Ltd
22. Fujifilm Corporation
23. STMicroelectronics
24. Corning Inc
25. Rohm Co Ltd
26. EMC Corp
27. Xilinx Inc
28. Apple Computer Inc
29. Analog Devices
30. Qualcomm Inc
31. Taiwan Semiconductor
32. Nortel Networks
33. Samsung Electronics
34. Hon Hai Precision Industry
35. Yahoo!
36. Electronic Data Systems

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