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7 Oct 2022

Ángela Alarcon, Access Now

Access Now calls on mass surveillance tech companies operating in Latin America to respond on human rights concerns

"What will it take for mass surveillance tech companies to respond on human rights?", 9 may 2022

Update, October 7th, 2022: We invited the companies to an interview as the last chance to contact them in the cases they have not answered before, and to do a follow-up if they had. We received no answer to the interview request from BGH Tech Partner, Security Team Network S.A, Danaide, Hikvision, Full Tecnología FullTec CIA. LTDA, Huawei, Oi, Unitech S.A, Idemia, Oosto (formerly known as Anyvision), RC International, Unión Eléctrica S.A., ZTE, Dahua, IBM, Verint.

These are the answers we got to the interview request from other companies.

Update, July 21, 2022: Following the publication of this blog, Access Now and the Business and Human Rights Resource Center (BHRRC) contacted all of the mentioned companies. Some of them answered, others remain silent. In the following links, you can see the answers obtained by Access Now and by the BHRRC.

In August 2021, jointly with Asociación por los Derechos Civiles (ADC), the Laboratório de Políticas Públicas e Internet (LAPIN), and LaLibre.net (Tecnologías Comunitarias), [Access Now] launched a report on some of the companies deploying [mass surveillance technologies] in Argentina, Brazil, and Ecuador, drawing attention to the opacity of their agreements with the governments. [Access Now] hope[s] this blog post serves to solicit a serious response from the companies about their operations and responsibility to respect human rights.

Third attempt: A new opportunity to answer our questions

[Access Now asked] the following companies to respond to [the] questions below, and to comply with global standards for transparency, accountability, and respect for human rights: BGH Tech Partner; Cellebrite and its resellers in Argentina, Security Team Network S.A and IAFIS Argentina S.A (IAFIS also resells Idemia’s tech); Dahua and its reseller in Brazil, Intelbras; Danaide; Hikvision and its resellers in Ecuador, Full Tecnologia FullTec CIA. LTDA and ANDEANTRADE S.A; Huawei and its reseller in Brazil, El Corte Inglés and Oi; IBM and its reseller in Argentina Unitech S.A; Idemia; Johnson Controls; NEC; Oosto (formerly known as Anyvision) and its reseller in Argentina, RC International; Verint and its reseller in Ecuador, Unión Eléctrica S.A.; and ZTE

  1. Does your company distribute surveillance solutions to governments in Latin America? If so, which products and to which states in Latin America? Which of your surveillance solutions products and services are most widely distributed in Latin America?
  2. Do third-party companies resell your surveillance solutions to Latin America states? If so, who are your resellers? 
  3. Do you or your resellers have contracts or agreements with Latin American governments to provide surveillance solutions? What do these agreements look like and what technologies are involved?
  4. What kind of support do you provide to your clients after distributing your surveillance solutions?
  5. Do you or your resellers have access to data collected in any country in Latin America? If yes: What are the characteristics of that data? According to your privacy policy, could that data be shared with any third parties or companies in the same corporate group?
  6. Do you have a policy, protocol, or internal process governing your provision of surveillance solutions to governments? Do you do an assessment of the authority’s human rights violations records before closing the agreements? Under what circumstances would you limit or restrict your provision of surveillance solutions to government clients?
  7. What actions are being taken by your company to ensure that the surveillance solutions that you distribute in Latin America are not being used to abuse human rights?