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USA: EFF, Access Now and several NGOs file amicus curiae brief in front of Supreme Court pleading for corporate liability under the ATS

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"EFF to Supreme Court: American Companies Complicit in Human Rights Abuses Abroad Should Be Held Accountable", 21 October 2020.

For years EFF has been calling for U.S. companies that act as “repression’s little helpers” to be held accountable, and now we’re telling the U.S. Supreme Court...

Today EFF filed a brief urging the Supreme Court to preserve one of the few tools of legal accountability that exist for companies that intentionally aid and abet foreign repression, the Alien Tort Statute (ATS)...

Specifically, we asked the Supreme Court today to rule that U.S. corporations can be sued by foreigners under the ATS and taken to court for aiding and abetting gross human rights abuses. The court is reviewing an ATS lawsuit brought by former child slaves from Côte d’Ivoire who claim two American companies, Nestlé USA and Cargill, aided in abuse they suffered by providing financial support to cocoa farms they were forced to work at...

We were joined in the brief by the leading organizations tracking the sale of surveillance technology: Access Now, Article 19, Privacy International, Center for Long-Term Cybersecurity, and Ronald Deibert, director of Citizen Lab at University of Toronto. We told the court that the Nestlé case does not just concern chocolate and children. The outcome will have profound implications for millions of Internet users and other citizens of countries around the world...

Why? Because providing sophisticated surveillance and censorship products and services to foreign governments is big business for some American tech companies. The fact that their products are clearly being used for tools of oppression seems not to matter...

The Supreme Court has severely limited the scope of the ATS in several rulings over the years. The court is now being asked to essentially grant immunity from the ATS to U.S. corporations. That would be a huge mistake...

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