The Global Network Initiative is pleased to announce that Websense, a global provider of web, data, and email security, will become the fifth company to join GNI. Websense joins four other GNI company members, Google, Microsoft, Yahoo!, and Evoca.

“By committing to GNI’s principles on freedom of expression and privacy, Websense is demonstrating that there is a responsible way for companies in the business of web filtering to work collectively with civil society organizations, investors, and academics to uphold human rights and fight censorship,” said GNI Executive Director Susan Morgan.

Websense is an enterprise security company that allows customers to protect against security risks, preserve network bandwidth, and maintain regulatory and workplace compliance. The company has roots in web filtering, which enables organizations to maintain compliance and productivity by determining what content their users can access in the workplace. But Websense has a strict policy against selling to governments or Internet service providers (ISPs) that engage in government-mandated censorship, except in the case of prohibiting minors from accessing pornography and prohibiting child pornography. Technology that empowers end users, including individuals and private organizations, to control the content available on private networks is an important means of controlling unwanted content while minimizing restrictions on free expression.

“We are gratified to be accepted into GNI, and we are excited that we’ll be able to work together to help the organization achieve its goals,” said Michael Newman, General Counsel and Interim CFO, Websense. “We believe that companies have an obligation to ensure the appropriate use of their technology and we are committed to the principle that broad public access to information and the freedom to create and communicate ideas are critical to the advancement of knowledge, economic opportunity, and human potential.”

“By agreeing to abide by GNI’s principles and monitoring, we hope that Websense will set an example for other companies in the ICT filtering and security sector and send the message that human rights, transparency and accountability matter,” said Arvind Ganesan, Director of Business and Human Rights at Human Rights Watch and GNI Board member. “This is a critical moment for the sector as a steady stream of very troubling revelations about the extensive use of such technologies by abusive governments to censor or spy on their citizens has focused attention on it.”