Davos: Amid raging controversy over Internet censorship in countries including India, corporate honchos at the World Economic Forum Sunday batted for online freedom saying it would be "foolish" for any government to impose restrictions.
Popular social networking site Facebook's COO Sheryl Sandberg, during a panel discussion, underscored the need for free and open Internet platform.
"It will be foolish for any government to block this platform," said Unilever CEO and WEF Co-Chair Paul Polman.
According to Sandberg, Internet and the social media have emerged as a major platform for freedom of speech and free exchange of views, providing a great platform to the people.
"There has to be free and open Internet platform, but obviously there has to be safety and security for the users," she said.
Google and Facebook are among 21 companies whose executives have been summoned to appear in person in a lower court in Delhi in March for allegedly hosting obscene and objectionable content.
Sandberg further noted that democratic countries would need to work together on how to keep the Internet free, and still a safe and secure platform.
"Right to privacy is certainly very important. We need to have checks and balances in place on whether and what data the users want to share. We need to get the right regulations, but not those that are not practical or not of any use," she pointed out at the WEF.
On the issue of Internet freedom, Citigroup chief Vikram Pandit said that right to privacy and security of data is certainly very important.
The issues like cyber security need to be taken seriously and we need to do a lot better on these fronts, he noted.
"When we talk about free Internet and restrained Internet, the names like Arab Spring indeed come to the mind and the authoritarian regimes and democratic regimes," Sandberg said.
Participating in the discussion, Mexico-based Cinepolis CEO Alejandro Ramirez said that social media is indeed a powerful tool.
First Published: Sunday, January 29, 2012, 20:45