7 telecommunications companies join Global Networks Initiative expanding global protection of freedom of expression & privacy rights
"Global Network Initiative Adds Seven Companies in Milestone Expansion of Freedom of Expression and Privacy Initiative"
In an important step forward for the protection of global freedom of expression and privacy rights, the multi-stakeholder Global Network Initiative (GNI) today announced that it has more than doubled its company participants, with the addition of seven leading international telecommunications operator and vendor companies. This milestone expansion in membership means the combined customer base of the seven new GNI members – more than 1.5 billion people in over 120 countries in Africa, North, Central and South America, Europe, the Middle East and the Asia-Pacific – will now be covered by the standards and user rights protections to which all GNI company members commit. Millicom, Nokia, Orange, Telefónica, Telenor Group, Telia Company and Vodafone Group join with GNI’s five global internet company members – Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft and Yahoo – and with more than 35 human rights and press freedom groups, academics and investor members in this unique collaboration to strengthen protections for global digital rights. The seven companies were until now members of the Telecommunications Industry Dialogue (ID). GNI’s enlarged membership comes at a critical time for GNI’s advocacy with national governments, who are grappling with their responsibilities to protect the public while ensuring that the privacy, security and expression rights of individuals are not put at risk...the new members commit to the GNI Principles and agree to have their commitment to these principles evaluated every two years through GNI’s independent company assessment process. Based on international human rights instruments, the Principles guide ICT companies on how to respect, protect and advance user rights when they respond to government demands for censorship, disclosure of user data and restrictions on access to communications services.