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23 Sep 2013

Compiled by Business & Human Rights Resource Centre

Netsweeper’s silence on its reported role in Pakistan’s internet filtering program - Business & Human Rights Resource Centre writes to Canadian Government and Netsweeper partners

In June 2013 Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto reported that technology developed by the Canadian company Netsweeper is “being implemented in Pakistan…for the purposes of political and social filtering.” This is despite an international campaign in 2012 that called on companies – including Netsweeper – not to bid for a tender by the Pakistan Government for a national URL-filtering system. The campaign was led by the Pakistan-based human rights organization, Bolo Bhi. Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited Netsweeper to provide a public response to the initial campaign (in March 2012) and then the Citizen Lab report (in June 2013). In neither instance did it respond: not to us, nor to other approaches from civil society and the media. We are disappointed that Netsweeper has refused to respond in the face of such significant concerns, i.e. that it is reportedly undermining the internationally-recognised right to freedom of expression. We have written to the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and to Netsweeper's global business partners raising this issue with them. The Canadian Government's response and statements by some of the partners are below. Of course, if Netsweeper does respond in future, we will add its full statement to our website. [partners contacted: Alcatel-Lucent, IBM, Intel, Kajeet, Lenovo, Nokia Siemens, Opera and Sandvine]