Majority of Internet infrastructure providers have not established adequate safeguards against human rights abuse, says new report

Author: Article 19, Published on: 28 June 2018

"Public interest, private infrastructure: barriers and drivers for adopting human rights standards in the Internet infrastructure industry," 5 June 2018

The Internet has become a powerful vehicle for exercising human rights...it is also increasingly becoming a tool for restricting rights. In 2017 internet shutdowns blocked user access to information in 30 countries and more than half of the world’s internet users’ communications were surveilled or censored. The Internet’s infrastructure...provides a bottleneck for governments and private actors...to control information flows. This manipulation... limit[s] a range of freedoms from surveilling conversations online and imposing censorships, to blocking users in a particular country from information about political issues. The majority of these chokepoints are controlled by private companies, often making them the mediators between respecting human rights with economic incentives and pressures to appease government requests for user data.

...[M]ost companies fail to meet basic human rights responsibilities for digital access providers.  This report examines the most influential catalysts and barriers that shape Internet infrastructure providers’ behaviour regarding human rights.

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