The Global Network Initiative (GNI) launched in October 2008 to protect and advance the human rights of freedom, expression and privacy has still failed to attract any staff.
The project was focused on promoting online freedoms in countries under heavy internet censorship, such as China, Burma and Iran.
However, the Center for Democracy and Technology, which was instrumental in the GNI's introduction, explained that it has had difficulty finding someone with enough expertise to take the agenda forward.
"It exists in name but, although there are members, there are still no directors," said a source who works for the organisation.
The GNI declaration, signed by Microsoft, Google, Yahoo and others, included strong statements by technology companies promising to limit the amount of data they share with censoring governments, and to be more transparent about the extent to which they comply with government restrictions.
The promises were particularly welcomed by human rights activists, following Yahoo's leak of information to the Chinese government in 2007 that led to the arrest of two internet 'dissidents'.
The companies signing the declaration hoped that the initiative would have a major impact on government censorship and threats to individual privacy.
Chuck Cosson, senior policy counsel at Microsoft, described the initiative as a "systemic approach to company practices".
Andrew McLaughlin, director of global public policy at Google, said: "We have joined this initiative because we know that a wide range of groups working together can achieve much more than the company acting alone.
"Our next step must be to bring onboard more companies and non-governmental organisations from around the world."
Meanwhile, Bennett Freeman, president of research and policy at the Calvert Group, another stakeholder involved in the process, maintained that the initiative had "immediate potential" to become a guide for companies on how to comply with government practices and policies.
However, the Center for Democracy and Technology source admitted that immediate action had not occurred because of a lack of staff.
"We are still trying to find someone qualified enough to take it up," he said. "We have all been working on it but there is no one yet to handle the press calls, put procedures in place and put together internal groups. It is a slow process as no-one is in charge."
Yet the source reiterated that "GNI's staffing efforts have no bearing on the the impact or effectiveness of the GNI members themselves."
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