Access Now sends digital rights demands to tech and telco firms

In April and June 2016, Access Now wrote to the heads of 16 technology and telecommunications firms outlining specific steps they can take to improve their disclosures about the policy and practices they use to safeguard digital rights. 

The letters drew on the companies' positions within the Ranking Digital Rights "Corporate Accountability Index".  Access Now tailored its recommendations for each company, asking them to ensure they encrypt wherever possible, report wherever meaningful, and provide remedy whenever necessary.

Business & Human Rights Resource Centre also invited the companies to respond.  Access Now's letters, the company responses and non-responses - and follow-up by Access Now are below.

Letters and responses / non-responses:

America Movil: letter - has not responded

AT&T: letter - response 

Axiata: letter - response

Bharti Airtel: letter - has not responded

Etisalat: letter - has not responded

Google: letter - response

Facebook: letter - response

Kakao: letter - response

Mail.Ru: letter - response

Microsoft: letter - response

MTN: letter - response

Orange: letter - response

Tencent: letter - has not responded

Twitter: letter - response

Vodafone: letter - response

Yahoo!: letter - response

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All components of this story

Company non-response
13 May 2016

Etisalat did not respond - Access Now letter on Ranking Digital Rights

Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited Etisalat to respond to a letter from Access Now regarding its placement in Ranking Digital Rights' Corporate Accountability Index.  Etisalat has not responded.

Company non-response
13 May 2016

Tencent did not respond - Access Now letter on Ranking Digital Rights

Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited Tencent to respond to a letter from Access Now regarding its placement in Ranking Digital Rights' Corporate Accountability Index.  Tencent has not responded.

Company response
11 May 2016

Kakao response - Access Now letter on Ranking Digital Rights

Author: Kakao Corp

Download the full document here

Company response
9 May 2016

Axiata response - Access Now letter on Ranking Digital Rights

Author: Axiata

Axiata sent its 2015 Sustainability Report as its response, referring to its information on privacy and data security.

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Company response
9 May 2016

MTN response - Access Now letter on Ranking Digital Rights

Author: MTN

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Company response
9 May 2016

Orange response - Access Now letter on Ranking Digital Rights

Author: Orange

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Company response
9 May 2016

Vodafone response - Access Now letter on Ranking Digital Rights

Author: Vodafone

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Company response
5 May 2016

Mail.ru response - Access Now letter on Ranking Digital Rights

Author: Mail.ru

Mail.ru sent the following response to the Access Now letter:

"We are an internet business where our focus is on communications and entertainment and in providing the widest possible experience to our users.  We reply on a highly skilled, and well remunerated workforce and we are pleased with the continued low churn in our staff as we place their welfare at the heart of our technology based culture.  Information security remains at the heart of both the user experience and our business.  As such we continue to place a very high level of emphasis on it.  We have very limited physical infrastructure and it is clearly in both the company’s and users best interests that we make the best use of this infrastructure thereby minimising our environment impact.  We remain committed to the highest standards for the protection of our users privacy across the network."

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Article
14 April 2016

Access Now sends digital rights demands to 10 tech and telco chairs

Author: Peter Micek and Alex Gilbert, Access Now

While the internet was in part developed with public funding, the web and mobile networks are largely a privately owned and operated environment. Companies mediate our internet access, and therefore our exercise of human rights online, yet in many cases, they lack the transparency and accountability we expect from governments or other actors that impact these rights.

To begin to right this balance, a number of civil society groups are showing tech and telecom companies how they can improve their disclosures about the policy and practices they use to safeguard digital rights. Access Now is partnering with Ranking Digital Rights (RDR) and the Business and Human Rights Research Centre (BHRRC) to give companies targeted advice that can help bring their practices in line with international human rights standards...

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