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Tech titans respond to demands to improve transparency around privacy and free expression

Original publication date: 11 May 2016

This week six global tech companies — including Vodafone and Kakao — responded to letters from Access Now demanding that they increase transparency around digital rights such as privacy and free expression.

The responses come in the midst of the companies’ Annual General Meetings, their yearly check-in with shareholders. The companies —Axiata, Kakao, Mail.Ru, MTN, Orange, and Vodafone — are based as far afield as South Korea, Russia, South Africa, and France and some responded to questions on these critical issues for the first time. Many provided meaningful responses to key questions raised by a powerful new Corporate Accountability Index developed by the Ranking Digital Rights project...

Even the highest-ranking companies have considerable room to improve when it comes to protecting their customers’ fundamental rights. For example, the top-ranked company, Google, scored only 65 out of 100. This year, Access Now worked closely with London-based Business and Human Rights Resources Centre to reach out to these companies with formal letters explaining that fundamental rights are under attack — online as well as offline — and that tech companies must play a role in protecting them. Another four companies — América Móvil, Bharti Airtel, Etisalat, and Tencent  did not respond to the letters despite numerous requests. Access Now will be pressuring the companies in the months to come...

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