Information and communications technology (ICT) companies—from search engines and software providers to network operators and equipment vendors—enable access to information and the exchange of ideas around the world. But the more we depend on technology in every part of our lives, the more that company business decisions can impact human rights, particularly free expression and privacy.
Governments have legitimate national security and law enforcement responsibilities that require assistance from technology companies, from fighting terrorism to protecting children online. But when governments, whether in pursuit of legitimate objectives or not, seek to remove content, restrict network access, or request users’ personal information, it puts companies in a difficult situation. Dramatic Internet shutdowns have captured worldwide public attention, but are just one part of a complex challenge.
The Global Network Initiative brings together ICT companies with human rights and press freedom organizations, investors, and academics to address these challenges with a framework rooted in universal human rights standards. Since GNI was formed, the human rights implications of the telecoms sector have entered the global spotlight.
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