Access Now asks for at least one improvement from 24 internet, mobile & telco companies, based on 2019 Corporate Accountability Index

In October 2019, Access Now wrote to the leaders of 24 internet, mobile and telecommunications companies asking for at least one timely and achievable improvement, a recommendation based on what Access Now sees as the most acute issues facing at-risk users (including journalists, activists, human rights defenders, and members of oppressed and marginalized communities).

The letters drew on the findings from Ranking Digital Rights' 2019 "Corporate Accountability Index". In these letters Access Now urges each company to review their performance, provide a public response to the findings, and commit to one specific improvement prior to the publication of the next RDR Index, which will be released in early 2021. More information is available here.

Business & Human Rights Resource Centre is publishing Access Now's letters and the company responses and non-responses below. 

Letters:

America Movil: letter; no response

Apple: letter; response

AT&T: letter; response

Axiata: letter; no response

Baidu: letter; no response

Bharti Airtel: letter; no response

Deutsche Telekom: letter; no response

Etisalat: letter; no response

Facebook: letter; no response

Google: letter; no response

Kakao: letter; response

Mail.ru: letter; response

Microsoft: letter; response

MTN: letter; no response

Ooredoo: letter; no response

Orange: letter; no response

Samsung: letter; no response

Telefonica: letter; no response

Telenor: letter; response

Tencent: letter; no response

Twitter: letter; response

Verizon Media: letter; response

Vodafone: letter; response

Yandex: letter; response

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Article
12 March 2020

Stepping up to the challenge: which companies are responding on digital rights?

Author: Isedua Oribhabor, Access Now

The Ranking Digital Rights (RDR) Corporate Accountability Index evaluates the world’s most powerful internet, mobile, and telecommunications companies on their disclosed commitments and policies that impact our rights to freedom of expression and privacy... In October 2019, Access Now wrote to the 24 companies evaluated, asking for improvement in one key area based on the results of the RDR Index. To date, only 10 of the 24 companies have provided public responses addressing the steps they take to ensure that our rights are protected... [T]hese responses are just the first step. We will continue to work with these companies to ensure that they follow through on their commitments to digital rights.

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Article
5 December 2019

Commentary: Investors should demand that tech company business models are designed & operated in a way that respects human rights

Author: Rebecca MacKinnon, Responsible Investor

"Holding tech titans accountable amidst global uncertainty", 5 December 2019

[I]nvestors must first demand that tech behemoth business models are designed and operated in a way that respects and protects human rights... Investors should also be working with leading tech companies to ensure the frameworks and operational systems required to achieve compliance with basic legal and human rights standards are in place... Companies will be better prepared for regulatory change and uncertainty if they work proactively to align their policies and practices with international human rights standards. 

... Investors should be demanding better alignment between public statements and the lobbying activities of the global tech players... Investors looking for signs that a company is positioned to get in front of regulatory uncertainty should look for improvements in the scope of company oversight and due diligence... 

... The 2019 RDR Index found that Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and a number of European telecommunications companies showed strong commitment to respect and protect users’ privacy and expression rights in the face of government censorship and surveillance demands... [but] these same companies failed to address the human rights implications and risks related to their product design and business models... [also refers to Apple, Twitter]

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