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5 Dec 2019

Rebecca MacKinnon, Responsible Investor

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

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"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]