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  • Warning: date_format() expects parameter 1 to be DateTimeInterface, boolean given in format_date() (line 2050 of /home/globalne/public_html/includes/common.inc).
  • Warning: date_timezone_set() expects parameter 1 to be DateTime, boolean given in format_date() (line 2040 of /home/globalne/public_html/includes/common.inc).
  • Warning: date_format() expects parameter 1 to be DateTimeInterface, boolean given in format_date() (line 2050 of /home/globalne/public_html/includes/common.inc).
  • Warning: date_timezone_set() expects parameter 1 to be DateTime, boolean given in format_date() (line 2040 of /home/globalne/public_html/includes/common.inc).
  • Warning: date_format() expects parameter 1 to be DateTimeInterface, boolean given in format_date() (line 2050 of /home/globalne/public_html/includes/common.inc).
  • Warning: date_timezone_set() expects parameter 1 to be DateTime, boolean given in format_date() (line 2040 of /home/globalne/public_html/includes/common.inc).
  • Warning: date_format() expects parameter 1 to be DateTimeInterface, boolean given in format_date() (line 2050 of /home/globalne/public_html/includes/common.inc).
  • Warning: date_timezone_set() expects parameter 1 to be DateTime, boolean given in format_date() (line 2040 of /home/globalne/public_html/includes/common.inc).
  • Warning: date_format() expects parameter 1 to be DateTimeInterface, boolean given in format_date() (line 2050 of /home/globalne/public_html/includes/common.inc).
  • Warning: date_timezone_set() expects parameter 1 to be DateTime, boolean given in format_date() (line 2040 of /home/globalne/public_html/includes/common.inc).
  • Warning: date_format() expects parameter 1 to be DateTimeInterface, boolean given in format_date() (line 2050 of /home/globalne/public_html/includes/common.inc).
  • Warning: date_timezone_set() expects parameter 1 to be DateTime, boolean given in format_date() (line 2040 of /home/globalne/public_html/includes/common.inc).
  • Warning: date_format() expects parameter 1 to be DateTimeInterface, boolean given in format_date() (line 2050 of /home/globalne/public_html/includes/common.inc).
  • Warning: date_timezone_set() expects parameter 1 to be DateTime, boolean given in format_date() (line 2040 of /home/globalne/public_html/includes/common.inc).
  • Warning: date_format() expects parameter 1 to be DateTimeInterface, boolean given in format_date() (line 2050 of /home/globalne/public_html/includes/common.inc).
  • Warning: date_timezone_set() expects parameter 1 to be DateTime, boolean given in format_date() (line 2040 of /home/globalne/public_html/includes/common.inc).
  • Warning: date_format() expects parameter 1 to be DateTimeInterface, boolean given in format_date() (line 2050 of /home/globalne/public_html/includes/common.inc).
  • Warning: date_timezone_set() expects parameter 1 to be DateTime, boolean given in format_date() (line 2040 of /home/globalne/public_html/includes/common.inc).
  • Warning: date_format() expects parameter 1 to be DateTimeInterface, boolean given in format_date() (line 2050 of /home/globalne/public_html/includes/common.inc).
  • Warning: date_timezone_set() expects parameter 1 to be DateTime, boolean given in format_date() (line 2040 of /home/globalne/public_html/includes/common.inc).
  • Warning: date_format() expects parameter 1 to be DateTimeInterface, boolean given in format_date() (line 2050 of /home/globalne/public_html/includes/common.inc).
  • Warning: date_timezone_set() expects parameter 1 to be DateTime, boolean given in format_date() (line 2040 of /home/globalne/public_html/includes/common.inc).
  • Warning: date_format() expects parameter 1 to be DateTimeInterface, boolean given in format_date() (line 2050 of /home/globalne/public_html/includes/common.inc).
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  • Warning: date_format() expects parameter 1 to be DateTimeInterface, boolean given in format_date() (line 2050 of /home/globalne/public_html/includes/common.inc).
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  • Warning: date_format() expects parameter 1 to be DateTimeInterface, boolean given in format_date() (line 2050 of /home/globalne/public_html/includes/common.inc).
  • Warning: date_timezone_set() expects parameter 1 to be DateTime, boolean given in format_date() (line 2040 of /home/globalne/public_html/includes/common.inc).
  • Warning: date_format() expects parameter 1 to be DateTimeInterface, boolean given in format_date() (line 2050 of /home/globalne/public_html/includes/common.inc).
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  • Warning: date_format() expects parameter 1 to be DateTimeInterface, boolean given in format_date() (line 2050 of /home/globalne/public_html/includes/common.inc).
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  • Warning: date_format() expects parameter 1 to be DateTimeInterface, boolean given in format_date() (line 2050 of /home/globalne/public_html/includes/common.inc).
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  • Warning: date_format() expects parameter 1 to be DateTimeInterface, boolean given in format_date() (line 2050 of /home/globalne/public_html/includes/common.inc).
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  • Warning: date_format() expects parameter 1 to be DateTimeInterface, boolean given in format_date() (line 2050 of /home/globalne/public_html/includes/common.inc).
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  • Warning: date_format() expects parameter 1 to be DateTimeInterface, boolean given in format_date() (line 2050 of /home/globalne/public_html/includes/common.inc).
  • Warning: date_timezone_set() expects parameter 1 to be DateTime, boolean given in format_date() (line 2040 of /home/globalne/public_html/includes/common.inc).
  • Warning: date_format() expects parameter 1 to be DateTimeInterface, boolean given in format_date() (line 2050 of /home/globalne/public_html/includes/common.inc).
  • Warning: date_timezone_set() expects parameter 1 to be DateTime, boolean given in format_date() (line 2040 of /home/globalne/public_html/includes/common.inc).
  • Warning: date_format() expects parameter 1 to be DateTimeInterface, boolean given in format_date() (line 2050 of /home/globalne/public_html/includes/common.inc).
  • Warning: date_timezone_set() expects parameter 1 to be DateTime, boolean given in format_date() (line 2040 of /home/globalne/public_html/includes/common.inc).
  • Warning: date_format() expects parameter 1 to be DateTimeInterface, boolean given in format_date() (line 2050 of /home/globalne/public_html/includes/common.inc).
  • Warning: date_timezone_set() expects parameter 1 to be DateTime, boolean given in format_date() (line 2040 of /home/globalne/public_html/includes/common.inc).
  • Warning: date_format() expects parameter 1 to be DateTimeInterface, boolean given in format_date() (line 2050 of /home/globalne/public_html/includes/common.inc).
  • Warning: date_timezone_set() expects parameter 1 to be DateTime, boolean given in format_date() (line 2040 of /home/globalne/public_html/includes/common.inc).
  • Warning: date_format() expects parameter 1 to be DateTimeInterface, boolean given in format_date() (line 2050 of /home/globalne/public_html/includes/common.inc).
  • Warning: date_timezone_set() expects parameter 1 to be DateTime, boolean given in format_date() (line 2040 of /home/globalne/public_html/includes/common.inc).
  • Warning: date_format() expects parameter 1 to be DateTimeInterface, boolean given in format_date() (line 2050 of /home/globalne/public_html/includes/common.inc).
  • Warning: date_timezone_set() expects parameter 1 to be DateTime, boolean given in format_date() (line 2040 of /home/globalne/public_html/includes/common.inc).
  • Warning: date_format() expects parameter 1 to be DateTimeInterface, boolean given in format_date() (line 2050 of /home/globalne/public_html/includes/common.inc).
  • Warning: date_timezone_set() expects parameter 1 to be DateTime, boolean given in format_date() (line 2040 of /home/globalne/public_html/includes/common.inc).
  • Warning: date_format() expects parameter 1 to be DateTimeInterface, boolean given in format_date() (line 2050 of /home/globalne/public_html/includes/common.inc).
  • Warning: date_timezone_set() expects parameter 1 to be DateTime, boolean given in format_date() (line 2040 of /home/globalne/public_html/includes/common.inc).
  • Warning: date_format() expects parameter 1 to be DateTimeInterface, boolean given in format_date() (line 2050 of /home/globalne/public_html/includes/common.inc).
  • Warning: date_timezone_set() expects parameter 1 to be DateTime, boolean given in format_date() (line 2040 of /home/globalne/public_html/includes/common.inc).
  • Warning: date_format() expects parameter 1 to be DateTimeInterface, boolean given in format_date() (line 2050 of /home/globalne/public_html/includes/common.inc).
  • Warning: date_timezone_set() expects parameter 1 to be DateTime, boolean given in format_date() (line 2040 of /home/globalne/public_html/includes/common.inc).
  • Warning: date_format() expects parameter 1 to be DateTimeInterface, boolean given in format_date() (line 2050 of /home/globalne/public_html/includes/common.inc).
  • Warning: date_timezone_set() expects parameter 1 to be DateTime, boolean given in format_date() (line 2040 of /home/globalne/public_html/includes/common.inc).
  • Warning: date_format() expects parameter 1 to be DateTimeInterface, boolean given in format_date() (line 2050 of /home/globalne/public_html/includes/common.inc).
  • Warning: date_timezone_set() expects parameter 1 to be DateTime, boolean given in format_date() (line 2040 of /home/globalne/public_html/includes/common.inc).
  • Warning: date_format() expects parameter 1 to be DateTimeInterface, boolean given in format_date() (line 2050 of /home/globalne/public_html/includes/common.inc).
  • Warning: date_timezone_set() expects parameter 1 to be DateTime, boolean given in format_date() (line 2040 of /home/globalne/public_html/includes/common.inc).
  • Warning: date_format() expects parameter 1 to be DateTimeInterface, boolean given in format_date() (line 2050 of /home/globalne/public_html/includes/common.inc).
  • Warning: date_timezone_set() expects parameter 1 to be DateTime, boolean given in format_date() (line 2040 of /home/globalne/public_html/includes/common.inc).
  • Warning: date_format() expects parameter 1 to be DateTimeInterface, boolean given in format_date() (line 2050 of /home/globalne/public_html/includes/common.inc).
  • Warning: date_timezone_set() expects parameter 1 to be DateTime, boolean given in format_date() (line 2040 of /home/globalne/public_html/includes/common.inc).
  • Warning: date_format() expects parameter 1 to be DateTimeInterface, boolean given in format_date() (line 2050 of /home/globalne/public_html/includes/common.inc).
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  • Warning: date_format() expects parameter 1 to be DateTimeInterface, boolean given in format_date() (line 2050 of /home/globalne/public_html/includes/common.inc).
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  • Warning: date_format() expects parameter 1 to be DateTimeInterface, boolean given in format_date() (line 2050 of /home/globalne/public_html/includes/common.inc).
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Issues

The Global Network Initiative publishes statements and resources on a regular basis to highlight trends and issues of concern for all stakeholders in the information and communications technology (ICT) sector. As a multi-stakeholder initiative, GNI draws on the collective expertise of our members and on our cumulative experience in the global implementation of the GNI Principles. 

Op-Ed: Only the Powerful Will Benefit from the 'Right to Be Forgotten'

Date: 
Monday, May 19, 2014 - 09:28

This piece by GNI Independent Chair Mark Stephens originally appeared in The Guardian:

Last week's judgment by the European court of justice allowing anyone to demand that a search engine should remove unwanted information from its index – even if it is accurate, lawful, and publicly available elsewhere – is a dangerous step in the wrong direction.

Since the ruling an ex-politician seeking re-election, a man convicted of possessing child abuse images and a doctor seeking to remove negative reviews from patients, are reported to be among the first to send takedown notices to Google. Privacy is a universal right that must be protected, but this overreaching judgment is far more likely to aid the powerful in attempts to rewrite history, than afford individuals more influence over their online identities.

Read the full article at The Guardian.

EU Court ‘Right to Be Forgotten’ Ruling Threatens Freedom of Expression

Date: 
Thursday, May 15, 2014 - 11:38

The Global Network Initiative (GNI) is deeply troubled by the risks to freedom of expression and access to information in the ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union allowing individuals to compel search engines to remove links to unwanted information—even if that information is accurate, lawful, and publicly available elsewhere.

GNI Board Chair Mark Stephens said: “With this ruling, society runs the risk of creating a two-tiered Internet, with searches in Europe returning dramatically different and less complete sets of results than will be available in the rest of the world.”

He added, “The social utility in academics, journalists, historians and average citizens being able to know the unvarnished truth outweighs that of an individual’s right to cover up unwanted facts. Protecting privacy is important, but the solution is not to oblige companies to return bespoke search results that open the door to increased censorship.”

The ruling misguidedly places the burden on companies, not courts, to make the ambiguous distinction between the right to privacy and the right to seek and impart information. And companies that decide the scales tip in favor of free expression may still find themselves facing legal action from data protection offices and subject to court orders to alter or remove access to otherwise publicly accessible information.

Europe’s admirable dedication to privacy and data protection has helped to shape global norms. However, it is equally important not to risk inspiring further efforts around the world to remove public facts from public access. We urge an informed debate on striking the right balance between the equally important goals of protecting freedom of expression and protecting privacy.

 

Russian Internet Legislation Threatens Online Rights

Date: 
Friday, April 25, 2014 - 15:11

The Global Network Initiative urges Russian President Vladimir Putin to veto legislation that would restrict free expression and privacy rights online. 

The "Information, Information Technologies and Protection of Information" amendment adopted by the Duma Tuesday, will go into effect in August if approved by President Putin. The legislation imposes stringent requirements on bloggers, requiring them to register with the authorities and face similar regulations to mass media. The amendment also reportedly requires Internet companies to locate customer data in Russia, where it can be accessed by state security and intelligence services. 

GNI Board Chair Mark Stephens said, “This is a steep decline on an already slippery slope. If one state controls and censors dissent in this way, then others will sure follow all too quickly. The Internet is founded on freedom of thought and data: not locking it away in a gilded cage with only the Securitate having the keys.” 

GNI previously warned against Russian legislation passed in 2012 said to be intended to block access to content harmful to children or extremist, a law that has been perverted for use during the past year to block political speech. Google reported a 125% increase in content removal requests from Russia in their most recent transparency report. Extensive blocking of independent news websites was reported in March 2014.

Alternative means of addressing legitimate law enforcement and national security concerns should be used that would also protect privacy and free expression. Rather than imposing onerous data retention and local storage requirements, governments should work together to improve the frameworks governing lawful requests for data across jurisdictions, such as Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties (MLATs).

Turkey: Stop Blocking Social Media

Date: 
Thursday, March 27, 2014 - 19:39

The Global Network Initiative urges Turkey to restore full access to Twitter and YouTube, and ensure access to communications and the free flow of information, particularly in advance of local elections on March 30.

GNI Executive Director Susan Morgan said, “By dramatically ramping up censorship of social media, the Turkish government—already the world’s top press jailer according to the Committee to Protect Journalists—appears determined to repress free expression rights online as well as offline.”

GNI is also concerned about reports indicating Turkey is attempting to block downloads of anonymity software Tor, which has enabled thousands of people in Turkey to circumvent the ban.

GNI urges the Turkish government to implement yesterday’s court ruling that overturned the Twitter ban, fully restore access to all services and ensure a free and open Internet. As the host the 2014 Internet Governance Forum, Turkey should not be flagrantly obstructing the ability of its citizens to exercise their fundamental rights.

Threats to Free Expression by Turkey and Russia

Date: 
Monday, March 10, 2014 - 13:43

GNI is deeply concerned by Prime Minister Erdogon's threats to block Facebook and YouTube in Turkey, as well as reports that the Russian government is blocking webpages of Ukrainian dissidents and interfering with mobile networks in Crimea.

The right to freedom of expression should not be restricted by governments, except in narrowly defined circumstances based on internationally recognized laws or standards. Broadly restricting citizens from sharing and receiving information—especially in times of conflict and for political purposes—is a clear violation of human rights and democratic principles.

Turkish Internet Legislation Threatens Free Expression and Privacy Rights

Date: 
Wednesday, January 22, 2014 - 11:45

Update: Turkey’s parliament passed the legislation on Wednesday February 5, 2014. GNI urges Turkish President Abdullah Gül to veto the bill.

The Global Network Initiative is greatly concerned by legislation under consideration in Turkey that if passed, would loosen already troubling standards for blocking of online content and require Internet service providers (ISPs) to retain information about users' online activity

The legislation would amend Turkey’s Law 5651 on the Regulation of Broadcasts via Internet and Prevention of Crimes Committed through Such Broadcasts. In December 2012, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that the existing law violates the right to freedom of expression under Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights. The amendments, however, would worsen the law’s impact on rights to free expression and privacy by weakening judicial oversight and due process for decisions on content removal and opening the door to even greater censorship online. The amendments also dramatically increase the obligations on ISPs to retain information about their customers’ online activities, and force ISPs to join a state controlled association.

On January 14 the Turkish Parliament’s planning and budget committee approved the proposed amendments, which are due to be considered by the full Parliament before the end of the month. Turkish police used tear gas and water cannons against protests over the law held in Istanbul and Ankara last week.

GNI urges the Turkish parliament to review the proposed amendments and remove those that are inconsistent with international legal standards regarding free expression and privacy rights.

GNI is a multi-stakeholder group of companies, civil society organizations (including human rights and press freedom groups), investors and academics, who have created a collaborative approach to protect and advance freedom of expression and privacy in the ICT sector. GNI provides resources for ICT companies to help them address difficult issues related to freedom of expression and privacy that they may face anywhere in the world. GNI has created a framework of principles and a confidential, collaborative approach to working through challenges of corporate responsibility in the ICT sector.

GNI Responds to Bytes For All, Pakistan

Date: 
Tuesday, July 30, 2013 - 16:21

On July 30, 2013, GNI wrote to Pakistani human rights organization Bytes For All, formally responding to the open letter they sent to GNI on July 17, 2013. The text of GNI's response is below:  

----- 

Dear Shahzad,

Subject: open letter in response to your letter of July 17 2013

Thank you for your letter dated July 17 2013 regarding claims you referenced which were made by a representative of the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority in the Lahore High Court on July 4 2013. I have shared the letter with GNI’s Board as requested and I’m glad that we had the opportunity to talk about the issue directly last week.

I have also been in touch with representatives from Facebook including Richard Allan who received a copy of your letter to me. My understanding is that you will receive a response from Facebook on the specific questions you raise in your letter.

The communications that I have had with Facebook make clear that there are two specific instances when they will act to remove or block access to content. The first is when content violates their Statement of Rights and Responsibilities. The second is when they are notified that content is unlawful in a particular jurisdiction. When Facebook receives a notice from a law enforcement authority notifying it that certain content is illegal, Facebook will review the order and confirm that the body requesting the removal is authorised to do so and that the content is indeed a violation of law in that jurisdiction. Only after that review has taken place will content be restricted in that particular jurisdiction. It remains visible to people outside of that jurisdiction. This is a common approach that Facebook takes in all countries.

It is important to acknowledge that there are many countries around the world where companies face challenges when required to comply with laws and regulations that many see as imposing restrictions on free expression. When a government in such a country requests that content is removed on the grounds that it violates local law, one approach a company may take to maximize expression in the face of these laws is to block content only in the specific jurisdiction where that content is illegal. GNI has created a framework for company decision-making based on international human rights standards which looks to protect the free expression and privacy rights of users. This framework is publicly available on our website at www.globalnetworkinitiative.org.

I wanted to specifically address the request at the end of your letter to review the way in which Facebook approaches requests from the Government of Pakistan to see if they are consistent with GNI’s principles and guidelines. When companies join GNI they make a commitment to implement our principles and guidelines within their organisation. When companies have been members for two years they then undergo their first independent assessment to look at whether the company is putting in place the policies, systems and processes in place to implement the principles. The next assessment considers what is actually happening in practice through a case review process and a determination of compliance.

When we become aware of an issue regarding a GNI company member, then we engage in a dialogue with the company in question to review the issue, which is what we have done in this case. We may also conduct internal discussions and learning sessions with our members to better understand the issue and where necessary, propose options to address it.

We do not conduct ad hoc reviews of company compliance with our principles. However, we have recognised that an important aspect of GNI’s work in the future is going to be to provide some kind of mechanism for stakeholders who want to raise concerns with GNI about the actions of our members, or to more broadly engage with our work. Last year we worked with Shift, a US non profit organisation, to help us think through how we could put such a mechanism in place. We expect to talk publicly about our next steps on this work when we publish our next assessment report on our three founding companies.

Thank you again for contacting me and please let me know if there is anything in particular in this letter that you would like to discuss in more detail.

 

With best wishes

Susan Morgan Executive Director GNI

 

Copy to:

  • Board members of the Global Network Initiative (GNI)
  • Lord Richard Allan, Facebook Inc, UK
  • Mr Frank La Rue, UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression, UN Human Rights Council
  • Mr Maina Kiai, Special Rapporteur on the Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and of Association
  • Best Bits Network
  • Ms Anusha Rehman, Minister of State for IT & Telecommunication, Government of Pakistan
  • The Chairman, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, Government of Pakistan

The Global Network Initiative Welcomes U.S. and Canadian Actions to Enable Access to Communications Technologies in Iran

Date: 
Tuesday, June 4, 2013 - 12:52

The Global Network Initiative commends recent actions by the U.S. and Canadian governments to ensure that sanctions do not prevent Iranian citizens from using information and communication technologies to communicate securely.

On May 30, the U.S. Treasury Department issued a new General License authorizing exports to Iran of certain services, software, and hardware incident to personal communications. The License builds on previous regulations and for the first time makes legal exports to Iran of hardware including mobile phones and computers, as well as critical software and services, such as anti-virus software, VPNs, anti-censorship tools, and access to online app stores. The General License was announced the day after Canada exempted some “consumer communication technologies that contribute to Internet freedom” from a new round of sanctions on Iran.

"This is an important development that will help Iranians get access to vital communications and security technologies,” said Jillian York, director of international freedom of expression at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a GNI participant. “EFF hopes to see a similar license extended to cover other sanctioned countries, such as Syria, Sudan, and Cuba."

GNI is encouraged by these steps, which make clear that sanctions should not infringe upon universal rights to freedom of expression and privacy.

A Plan for Rights-Respecting Telecoms


GNI Policy and Communications Director David Sullivan joins a workshop at the Internet Governance Forum in Baku, Azerbaijan. 

Protecting Human Rights in the Digital Age

Date: 
Friday, February 4, 2011 - 16:49

 

On February 14th, 2011 we announced the publication of a GNI-commissioned report, written by BSR, titled "Protecting Human Rights in the Digital Age". The report describes the evolving freedom of expression and privacy risks faced by information and communications technology (ICT) companies and how these risks can be more effectively mitigated by the industry. It focuses on the issues for telecommunications services; cell phones and mobile devices; internet services; enterprise software, data storage and IT services, semiconductors and chips, network equipment, consumer electronics and security software.

Read the full report here (pdf).

Pages

2014 Learning Forum on Transparency and Human Rights in the Digital Age - Geneva

Date: 
Tuesday, December 9, 2014 - 16:42

On 1 December 2014, the Telecommunications Industry Dialogue and the Global Network Initiative (GNI) held the second of their two Joint Learning Forums for the year 2014.  The Geneva Internet Platform (GIP) hosted the event, which focused on Transparency and Human Rights in the Digital Age and featured participants from the ICT industry, civil society organizations, governments, investors, academics, and intergovernmental organizations.  The event took place on the margins of the UN Forum on Business and Human Rights, providing an opportunity for Industry Dialogue and GNI members to take part in that event and engage with a wider range of stakeholders.

The event opened with welcome messages from Milka Pietikainen of Millicom, the current Chair of the Industry Dialogue, Mark Stephens, Chair of the Board of the GNI, and Dr. Jovan Kurbalija, Head of the Geneva Internet Platform.  Milka Pietikainen mentioned that thus far, three Industry Dialogue companies have published transparency reports, and all ID companies have committed to making their operations more transparent. For the Industry Dialogue, transparency is broader than reporting on the number of government requests for communications data that have been received; instead, it means communicating about the company’s policies and processes and how these apply to real-life situations.  According to Mark Stephens, following the Snowden revelations of June 2013, an increasing number of institutions have turned their attention to privacy in the digital age, and there is a push to set higher standards with regard to transparency for the industry as a whole. Jovan Kurbalija welcomed the opportunity to hold in-depth discussions across policy silos in the spirit of the GIP and to engage digital actors across the spectrum to foster collaborative solutions. Geneva is important in this discussion, both for the wide array of Internet-related issues decided on in that city, and for the significant presence of diplomats belonging to small(er) permanent missions, where one person is often responsible for many issues.

Panel 1: What is the state of transparency reporting by companies and governments, and what's missing?

Annette Fergusson, Senior Sustainability Manager, Vodafone Group

Anna Lekvall, Deputy Director, Dept. of International Law, Human Rights and Treaty Law,

Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Sweden

Dr. Stefan Heumann, Deputy Director, European Digital Agenda, StiftungNeueVerantwortung

Peter Micek, Senior Policy Counsel, Access

Moderated by Jens-Henrik Jeppesen, Director for European Affairs, Center for Democracy and Technology

Opening the first panel, Jens-Henrik Jeppesen referred to the Center for Democracy and Technology’S (CDT) comparative study on systematic government access to personal data in 13 countries published in November 2013. Overall, the greatest difficulty was that of obtaining precise information about laws and practices, as many were undocumented and unofficial.  Participants agreed on the need for greater transparency about the legal frameworks and the context in which surveillance takes place, and CDT and the GNI have recommended that the Freedom Online Coalition work toward transparency in line with the Tallinn Agenda. 

During 2014, several telecommunications companies have issued transparency reports for the first time, challenging prior limitations on and perceptions about what companies could disclose.   Annette Fergusson discussed Vodafone Group’s Law Enforcement Disclosure Report, which was published in June of 2014 and covers the 29 countries in which the company has controlled operations. The report’s achievements were described as (1) contextualising the policy frameworks and challenges faced by companies around issues such as secrecy ; (2) enumerating government demands for lawful interception assistance and for disclosure of communications-related data received at the country level; and (3) compiling summaries of the relevant legal provisions in each country under a Creative Commons licence.

Dr. Stefan Heumann explained that in Germany, advanced discussions are taking place around privacy, but there is a need to review the mechanisms for data collection and whether such instruments are implemented in the way they were intended. While the German authorities have been publishing some data, the effort has not been comprehensive, and the reporting is segmented across sector lines. As a result, company transparency reporting plays an important role in filling in the gaps. Companies have begun to publish data on government requests for communications data, and while the reports of 2014 were a positive first step, there is much more that transparency reports can cover.  For example, the German public might be surprised at how much content is restricted under laws governing hate speech and the prohibition of child pornography.

Peter Micek explained that Access has recently established a Transparency Reporting Index and stressed the importance of the UN Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights, which establish that while companies have responsibilities regarding human rights, collaboration with other stakeholders should take place as well.  While governments have also responded to the momentum to publish numbers related to communications surveillance, many of these numbers are not meaningful to the public, particularly given that large elements of the communications surveillance picture – including many related to national security – are missing from such reports. 

Anna Lekvall commented that after the Snowden revelations, the Swedish government, recognised as a promoter of human rights around the world, had to ‘look more carefully at itself.’  One area of concern is integrity in the digital world, which is being addressed by a parliamentary committee recently set up in the context of renewed discussion about digital vulnerabilities. She reflected on transparency reports as a positive lever for non-democratic states, suggesting that because many governments want to demonstrate progress in the age of the Internet, governments that lead by example can prompt greater transparency globally.  Lekvall concluded that multi-stakeholder cooperation is the new norm for human rights in the digital age.

During the open discussion, participants mentioned that all actors should envision win-win scenarios for the authorities, companies, and users to benefit from increased transparency, given that legitimacy is at stake.  Participants expressed that transparency reporting should include statistics related to freedom of expression, as well as information on extra-legal, self-regulatory regimes around copyright, intellectual property, and adult content, as well as the enforcement of terms of service remain opaque. As Peter Micek explained, companies can make remedies available in this area, as it is within their control.  It was suggested that reporting be harmonised on the corporate and on the government sides in order to avoid a scenario in which the same action is reported multiple times. 

Participants mentioned that greater cooperation by all parties over the long term with international institutions could further the goals of all, regarding issues such as Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty reform.  It was recommended that companies engage with governments during the drafting of National Action Plans on Business and Human Rights. Finally, it was highlighted that transparency reports can contribute to progress in fostering positive debate in non-democratic states when it is part of companies’ long-term strategy. 

Panel 2: How do companies communicate with users in response to live events?

Dr. Jovan Kurbalija, Head of the Geneva Internet Platform

Milka Pietikainen, Head of Corporate Responsibility, Millicom

Dan Bross, Senior Director, Corporate Citizenship, Microsoft

Jane Møller Larsen, Head of Department, Eastern Europe, Caucasus & Central Europe, International Media Support

Moderated by Bennett Freeman, Senior Vice President, Sustainability Research and Policy, Calvert Investments

During the second panel discussion, Bennett Freeman outlined the challenges facing companies as they try to communicate with users about events such as content restriction, surveillance, and network shutdowns, which generally occur during moments of tension with governments.  He tied the company discussions on transparency into the broader debate about transparency in Internet governance. The recent Geneva Internet Conference held a workshop on aiming for full transparency, accepting occasional translucency, suggesting practical ways for differentiating between disclosure and secrecy contexts. Jovan Kurbalija explained that empathy is needed in order to overcome the breakdown in communication and foster the understanding of the reasoning behind a particular approach.  Yet, evidence-based policy-making seems to pose another dilemma: paralysis by complexity. The ultimate objective might not be achieved due to the inflation of data, Kurbalija noted. Streamlining reporting (combining governmental and business perspectives) might be a practical step in this direction and a conversion point for the Geneva institutional landscape.

When asked about the challenges and risks that companies face when they try to communicate to users about governmental requests for data, Milka Pietikainen explained that it is important to understand the multi-faceted relationship between telecommunications companies and governments. Telecommunications operators hold several licences from different government entities, and if authorities are displeased by a company’s disclosures, this may have direct consequences for its ability to render services to customers. In some operating contexts there may be threats to the security of personnel. Under these circumstances, a company can still take steps towards transparency, such as engaging in discussions with the government directly, capacity development among employees, and confidential discussions with investors and other stakeholders on company efforts to push back against requests that do not follow legal procedures.

Dan Bross indicated that Microsoft aims to help its 500 million users around the world understand the company’s actions and motives in responding to requests, while the company is conscious that many of these users do not read transparency reports.  Communicating regularly with affected users – both publicly and privately on occasion – to the extent that this is allowed is seen as essential to building trust.  Microsoft issued its first transparency report in 2013, but it has built on the experience of other companies to improve its reporting.

Jane Møller Larsen drew on her experience working with journalists across 40 countries and emphasized that companies must find effective ways to communicate with users, who are often young and do not read reports that are presented in an academic manner.  She highlighted the importance of direct dialogue with bloggers and other direct stakeholders.  Company licence agreements also remain opaque, and greater transparency around their terms could serve advocacy purposes and promote cohesion in the range of a company’s activities, perhaps reducing the number of illegitimate demands.    

In conclusion, Mark Stephens emphasized that while companies have made significant progress in increasing transparency about communications surveillance, governments must now show greater leadership.  Milka Pietikainen indicated that stakeholders often have common goals and indicated that companies should continue to share best practices, as the Industry Dialogue has done, in order to understand their different operating contexts and to build trust.  Jovan Kurbalija concluded that cross-fertilisation might be the way forward, as ‘binary issues have to be addressed in an analogue way’, with realistic expectations.

Getting Specific About Transparency, Privacy, and Free Expression Online

Date: 
Wednesday, November 5, 2014 - 13:58

Emma Llansó and Susan Morgan co-authored this post, which originally apparead on the CDT blog.

Amid the contentious global debates about privacy and surveillance since the Snowden revelations, few proposed reforms have attracted more consensus than calls for greater transparency. Although the devil remains in the details, the need to increase transparency around the requests that governments make of companies to hand over personal data or restrict content online is one of the rare points on which governments, companies, and civil society at least somewhat agree. Transparency is a necessary first step in supporting an informed public debate on whether domestic laws adequately protect individuals’ rights to privacy and freedom of expression.

This call for transparency has been echoed at the highest levels. The UN High Commissioner on Human Rights, Navi Pillay, called attention to “the disturbing lack of governmental transparency associated with surveillance policies, laws and practices, which hinders any effort to assess their coherence with international human rights law and to ensure accountability,” in her seminal report on the Right to Privacy in the Digital Age.

Companies have also taken steps to be more transparent with their users about the requests they receive from governments. Since the Snowden revelations, U.S. companies have filed legal challenges and supported legislation seeking the right to report about the national security requests they receive, and scores of companies have begun publishing transparency reports on government requests for user data. Internationally, telecommunications companies such as Vodafone have also begun to disclose this information, or to be transparent about where they are legally prohibited from reporting.

Some governments have started to signal a willingness to make improvements on transparency. For example, in June 2014 the Ministers of the Freedom Online Coalition, a partnership of 23 governments working to advance Internet freedom, committed to:

“Call upon governments worldwide to promote transparency and independent, effective domestic oversight related to electronic surveillance, use of content take-down notices, limitations or restrictions on online content or user access and other similar measures, while committing ourselves to do the same.”

CDT and the Global Network Initiative (GNI) believe that the time has come for a much more specific discussion of the transparency expectations and responsibilities of governments and companies that would facilitate this informed public debate around necessary reform. Working with other stakeholders over the past 9 months, we’ve developed a preliminary set of specific, actionable criteria for transparency, which we provide below.

Transparency is about more than just reporting numbers. Governments should make publicly available the laws and legal interpretations authorizing electronic surveillance or content removal, as well as report the aggregate numbers of requests, and the number of users impacted by these requests.

Governments should also permit companies to issue analogous reports. The combination of government and company reporting can help the public understand the scope of restrictions on rights and dispel myths about surveillance or content removal. And the progress towards greater reporting on national security requests in the United States demonstrates there is more that both governments and companies can say about interception requests without endangering national security.

In the coming weeks, GNI and the Telecommunications Industry Dialogue will be convening learning forums in California and Geneva to dive deeper into questions concerning how transparency can advance human rights online, and the barriers that both governments and companies face in providing the public with this information. CDT and GNI are also pleased to be working on these issues with other advocates, companies, and members of government through the Freedom Online Coalition Working Group on Privacy and Transparency Online. We welcome feedback on the recommendations below from all stakeholders, and we look forward to continuing this conversation online and around the world.

Surveillance

  • Publicly post laws authorizing surveillance as well as official legal interpretations of the law, including executive orders, legal opinions that are relied on by executive officials, and court orders.
  • Disclose the information about:
    • Which intelligence agencies/bodies are legally permitted to conduct surveillance;
    • The scope of the surveillance authorities of each of those entities;
    • The judicial, ministerial, other oversight mechanisms required for the authorization of each instance of surveillance;
    • The judicial, ministerial or independent oversight mechanisms that oversee the implementation of surveillance;
    • And the mechanisms for redress victims of unlawful surveillance may pursue.
    • Disclose to the victim of unlawful surveillance that unlawful surveillance has taken place as soon as practical considering the needs of the specific pending investigation.
    • Public disclosure of the scope of unlawful surveillance and remedial and disciplinary actions taken.
  • Disclose aggregated information about the surveillance demands they make on companies including:
    • The number of surveillance demands;
    • The number of user accounts affected by those demands;
    • The specific legal authority for each of those demands; and
    • Whether the demand sought communications content or non-content or both, and how the authorities define these terms.
  • Permit companies to disclose, with the level of detail set out above, aggregated information on number of surveillance demands that they receive and how they respond to them on at least an annual basis.
  • Permit companies to disclose technical requirements for surveillance that they are legally bound to install, implement, and comply with such as requirements to design lawful intercept capability into communications technology and to decrypt encrypted communications.

Content removal or restriction

  • Publicly post laws authorizing orders to remove or restrict content as well as official legal interpretations of the law, including executive orders, legal opinions that are relied on by executive officials, and court orders.
  • Disclose the information about:
    • Which government agencies/bodies are legally permitted to order takedowns;
    • The types of information by subject that can be ordered removed;
    • The judicial, ministerial, or other oversight mechanisms required for the authorization of each instance of content removal;
    • The judicial, ministerial, or independent oversight mechanisms that oversee the implementation of content takedowns;
    • And the mechanisms for redress that victims of unlawful censorship may pursue.
    • Public disclosure of the scope of unlawful censorship and remedial and disciplinary actions taken.
  • Permit companies to disclose the number of takedowns requests that they receive by number, subject matter, and specific legal authority, and how the company responded to the request.

Any deviations from these transparency requirements would be made only as strictly necessary.

GNI Responds to GCHQ in the Financial Times

Date: 
Wednesday, November 5, 2014 - 07:30

In reaction to the Financial Times op-ed by Richard Hannigan, Director of GCHQ, GNI Board Chair Mark Stephens wrote this letter to the editor, "Need to intrude must be demonstrated, not merely asserted" published November 5:

 

Sir, Robert Hannigan, director of GCHQ, paints a bleak picture of tech-savvy terrorists, enabled by social media platforms that impede intelligence agencies’ efforts to protect the public (“The web is a terrorist’s command-and-control network of choice”, November 4).

He makes nearly no mention of the sophisticated apparatus of mass surveillance employed by his agency to monitor communications at a scope and scale unimaginable not long ago, from the wholesale siphoning of internet traffic from submarine cables to the collection of millions of webcam images from users unsuspected of any connection to terrorism. Nor does he mention lawful, proportionate and proper co-operation between law enforcement and the ICT sector.

Co-operation between technology companies and governments can and should play a role in addressing legitimate security threats online. But when it comes to handing over user data, or taking down content posted online, companies have an equally important responsibility to respect their users’ rights. That must entail a level of transparency and accountability that has been glaringly absent from GCHQ’s own conduct revealed by Edward Snowden. The necessity and proportionality of any intrusion into privacy or free expression must be demonstrated, not simply asserted in a “nanny knows best” way by an unaccountable state. There is also a compelling social need for meaningful independent oversight and due process to be built in to the authorising legal framework.

Putting human rights at the centre of the relationship between technology companies, society and governments would be a better way to begin a mature debate on privacy in the digital age than the flagrantly false allegation that social media companies are facilitating murder.

Mark Stephens

London E11, UK

Independent Chair, Global Network Initiative

GNI Joins Coalition Letter on Surveillance Reform

Date: 
Wednesday, September 3, 2014 - 10:25

The Global Network Initiative joined a coalition letter signed by members of Congress, former government officials, civil society organizations and companies to urge the Obama Administration to reform surveillance practices under Executive Order 12333. 

Read the letter

 

Open Letter to UK Prime Minister on the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Bill

Date: 
Monday, July 14, 2014 - 17:15

On July 14, 2014, GNI wrote to UK Prime Minister David Cameron about the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Bill.

Rt. Hon David Cameron MP
Prime Minister
10 Downing Street
London SW1A 2AA

14th July 2014

Dear Prime Minister, 

The Global Network Initiative is a multi-stakeholder group of companies, civil society organizations (including human rights and press freedom groups), investors and academics, working to protect and advance freedom of expression and privacy in the Information Communications and Technology (ICT) sector. 

We urge reconsideration of the fast-track timeline for the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers (DRIP) Bill to provide adequate opportunity for Parliamentary scrutiny and public debate. 

GNI has observed a troubling legislative trend around the world in which requirements are placed on communications providers to respond to government requests for user data outside that government’s jurisdiction. By asserting extraterritorial jurisdiction, the DRIP Bill could provide unintended justification for such actions by other governments, including those that seek to limit freedom of expression and other human rights online. We are concerned that the effect of passing this legislation will be to encourage other governments to expand claims of jurisdiction without regard to the physical location of data centers. We urge you to be mindful of these consequences, including the impact of laws enacted in other jurisdictions on the privacy rights of UK citizens at home and abroad, when considering this legislation.

The UK government has other means of lawfully obtaining data from other jurisdictions, including through mutual legal assistance treaties (MLATs). The UK National Crime Agency has been a leading proponent of reforms to the MLAT process that would better address individual rights and law enforcement needs. If passed, the DRIP Bill would undermine these efforts, which we believe to be a more suitable approach to managing challenges around jurisdiction and cross-border data requests. 

The United Kingdom plays an important leadership role in the promotion of Internet freedom, including through co-chairing the Freedom Online Coalition working group on privacy and transparency. We believe that giving unintended justification to other governments seeking to limit freedom of expression and other human rights could undermine the effectiveness of the UK’s efforts to advance freedom online. We urge you to reconsider the timetable for this proposed legislation and allow a public debate that considers its broader international ramifications.

Yours sincerely,

Mark Stephens, CBE 
Independent Chair
Global Network Initiative

Susan Morgan 
Executive Director 
Global Network Initiative

cc:   The Rt. Hon Nick Clegg MP
        The Rt. Hon Theresa May MP

Op-Ed: Privacy Since Snowden

Date: 
Wednesday, June 18, 2014 - 15:02

This piece by GNI Independent Chair Mark Stephens originally appeared at Project Syndicate:

A year has passed since the American former intelligence contractor Edward J. Snowden began revealing the massive scope of Internet surveillance by the US National Security Agency. His disclosures have elicited public outrage and sharp rebukes from close US allies like Germany, upending rosy assumptions about how free and secure the Internet and telecommunications networks really are. Singlehandedly, Snowden has changed how people regard their phones, tablets, and laptops, and sparked a public debate about the protection of personal data. What his revelations have not done is bring about significant reforms.

Read the full op-ed at Project Syndicate, or read it in Arabic, Chinese, Czech, Dutch, French, German, Portugese, Russian, or Spanish

Video: Surveillance Reforms: Toward Transparency and Accountability

Date: 
Tuesday, April 29, 2014 - 14:53


At the meeting of the Freedom Online Coalition in Tallinn, Estonia, GNI organized a session with the Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT) on surveillance reforms and transparency: 

GNI Urges U.S. Senate to Lead on Surveillance Reform

Date: 
Friday, May 23, 2014 - 09:23

The Global Network Initiative (GNI) urges the U.S. Senate to address serious shortcomings in the version of the USA FREEDOM Act (H.R. 3361) passed by the House. The bill that passed the House, despite making important progress, contains provisions that could codify continuing the collection of mass amounts of user data. GNI welcomed the introduction of the USA FREEDOM Act in the House and Senate last year. We urge the Senate to improve upon this version, so as to end bulk collection, protect user privacy rights around the world, and continue to increase the transparency of government surveillance practices.

Russian Internet Legislation Threatens Online Rights

Date: 
Friday, April 25, 2014 - 15:11

The Global Network Initiative urges Russian President Vladimir Putin to veto legislation that would restrict free expression and privacy rights online. 

The "Information, Information Technologies and Protection of Information" amendment adopted by the Duma Tuesday, will go into effect in August if approved by President Putin. The legislation imposes stringent requirements on bloggers, requiring them to register with the authorities and face similar regulations to mass media. The amendment also reportedly requires Internet companies to locate customer data in Russia, where it can be accessed by state security and intelligence services. 

GNI Board Chair Mark Stephens said, “This is a steep decline on an already slippery slope. If one state controls and censors dissent in this way, then others will sure follow all too quickly. The Internet is founded on freedom of thought and data: not locking it away in a gilded cage with only the Securitate having the keys.” 

GNI previously warned against Russian legislation passed in 2012 said to be intended to block access to content harmful to children or extremist, a law that has been perverted for use during the past year to block political speech. Google reported a 125% increase in content removal requests from Russia in their most recent transparency report. Extensive blocking of independent news websites was reported in March 2014.

Alternative means of addressing legitimate law enforcement and national security concerns should be used that would also protect privacy and free expression. Rather than imposing onerous data retention and local storage requirements, governments should work together to improve the frameworks governing lawful requests for data across jurisdictions, such as Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties (MLATs).

Op-Ed: The UK's Response to Snowden's Revelations Lets Putin Off the Hook

Date: 
Monday, April 21, 2014 - 11:15

This piece by GNI Independent Chair Mark Stephens originally appeared in The Guardian:

"Our intelligence efforts are strictly regulated by our law," responded Vladimir Putin to a question from Edward Snowden live on Russia Today. He added: "We don't have a mass system of such interception, and according to our law, it cannot exist." The Russian president may as well have been reading from a UK script.

Earlier this month, David Cameron welcomed a new report by the UK's lickspittle surveillance watchdog assuring us that our surveillance laws remain fit for purpose, contrary to Snowden's disclosures. The report, by the interceptions of communications commissioner, Sir Anthony May, says UK agencies do not "engage in random mass intrusion into the public affairs of law abiding UK citizens", noting that "it would be comprehensively illegal if they did".

The report exemplifies the ways in which the UK response to the Snowden revelations is providing a worrying precedent for Putin and other autocrats, and has been incommensurate to the scope and scale of the problem at hand.

Read the full article at The Guardian Comment is Free.

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All articles and releases related to Intermediary Liability.

Open Letter on Freedom of Expression, Intellectual Property and H.R. 3261, the Stop Online Piracy Act

On 15 November 2011, GNI wrote to the Committee on the Judiciary of the U.S. House of Representatives about freedom of expression, intellectual property and H.R. 3261, the Stop Online Piracy Act. The text of the letter is below.

Dear Chairman Smith and Ranking Member Conyers,
 

Date: 
Tue, 11/15/2011 - 17:16

GNI at the Silicon Valley Human Rights Conference

As entrepreneurs, engineers, and activists gathered in San Francisco, California for the inaugural Silicon Valley Human Rights Conference on October 25-26, 2011, the work of the Global Network Initiative was “at the center of debate” according to Politico, and repeatedly highlighted as a crucial component of wider efforts to manage the human rights implications of new technologies.

Date: 
Fri, 10/28/2011 - 17:02

OECD Intermediary Liability Workshop

In June 2010 the Executive Director of GNI attended a workshop held by the OECD on intermediary liability. See GNI's statement on the issue here.

Date: 
Mon, 06/21/2010 - 16:00

Reflecting on Google in Italy (and beyond): Implications for Online Privacy and Freedom of Expression in the Internet Age

The Italian court decision to hold three Google executives criminally liable for privacy violations raises important questions for human rights and for the technology industry. Privacy and freedom of expression are fundamental rights. How to best to align policies that protect both these rights is an issue that warrants broad consideration.

Date: 
Wed, 03/10/2010 - 15:00

GNI Identifies Intermediary Liability for Carriers and Platforms for User Generated Content as a Key Issue for Business and Public Policy

When companies are held liable for content uploaded or sent by users, freedom of expression can suffer. Collaborative efforts should help advance policy solutions that better protect fundamental rights to expression and access to information.

Date: 
Wed, 08/19/2009 - 15:00

GNI Presents Multi-Stakeholder Approach at Yahoo! Business & Human Rights Summit

The GNI participated in a panel entitled, “The GNI’s Multi-Stakeholder Approach” at the first annual Yahoo! Business & Human Rights Summit on May 5, 2009.

Date: 
Thu, 06/04/2009 - 16:00

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GNI statement on UN Work on the Human Right of Freedom of Expression

On the 28th of July, the Human Rights Committee of the United Nations approved a new “General Comment” of Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, giving clear guidance on the legitimate restrictions on freedom of expression that states can make.

Date: 
Fri, 08/05/2011 - 16:00

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All articles assessing the human rights impacts of issues addressed by GNI.

Statement of the Global Network Initiative on the OECD’s update of the Revised Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises

The Global Network Initiative welcomes the reference to human rights and Internet freedom in the OECD's recent update of the Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises.
 
These guidelines are indicative of a broad international consensus on key aspects of the ongoing effort to ensure protection for fundamental rights and recognize that collaboration between different stakeholders can strengthen efforts to protect these rights.
 

Date: 
Tue, 06/14/2011 - 13:00

GNI statement on U.S. Secretary of State Clinton’s Address on Internet Freedom

The Global Network Initiative (GNI) welcomes the continued focus by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Internet freedom and her acknowledgment of our initiative. We share her emphasis on fundamental human rights and the value of an open and free Internet.

Date: 
Tue, 02/15/2011 - 14:00

GNI commissioned report on the freedom of expression and privacy risks across the ICT sector is published

Today sees the publication of a GNI commissioned report, written by BSR "Protecting Human Rights in the Digital Age".

Date: 
Mon, 02/14/2011 - 15:00

GNI commissioned report on the freedom of expression and privacy risks across the ICT sector is published

Today sees the publication of a GNI commissioned report, written by BSR "Protecting Human Rights in the Digital Age".

Date: 
Mon, 02/14/2011 - 15:00

Statement on WikiLeaks and the Implications for Companies

Recent decisions by some technology companies to restrict access to or sever ties with WikiLeaks highlight the difficulties companies face when governments attempt to restrict controversial information.

The Global Network Initiative does not take a position on WikiLeaks decision to publish these materials or on their content, but is concerned about the implications for freedom of expression and privacy online.

Date: 
Thu, 12/16/2010 - 16:00

GNI Convenes Stakeholders on Account Deactivation and Human Rights Issues

On 16th April 2010 the GNI held a conference call attended by over 30 company and human rights organization representatives to discuss the human rights impacts of account deactivation and content removal. As one outcome of this call, the GNI is establishing a network of companies and human rights organizations dedicated to sharing best practices, communicating potential incidents of concern and reducing the impact of account deactivation and content removal on human rights.

Date: 
Tue, 05/11/2010 - 17:00

Reflecting on Google in Italy (and beyond): Implications for Online Privacy and Freedom of Expression in the Internet Age

The Italian court decision to hold three Google executives criminally liable for privacy violations raises important questions for human rights and for the technology industry. Privacy and freedom of expression are fundamental rights. How to best to align policies that protect both these rights is an issue that warrants broad consideration.

Date: 
Wed, 03/10/2010 - 15:00

GNI Statement on U.S. Secretary of State Clinton's Address on Internet Freedom

Secretary Clinton underscored how the Internet brings exciting new opportunities for 21st century diplomacy and highlighted its potential to advance human rights in her address on Internet freedom today. To help achieve these goals, it is important that information, communication, and technology (ICT) companies are able to operate in a manner that promotes respect for human rights, even in the most challenging markets.

Date: 
Thu, 01/21/2010 - 15:00

GNI Identifies Intermediary Liability for Carriers and Platforms for User Generated Content as a Key Issue for Business and Public Policy

When companies are held liable for content uploaded or sent by users, freedom of expression can suffer. Collaborative efforts should help advance policy solutions that better protect fundamental rights to expression and access to information.

Date: 
Wed, 08/19/2009 - 15:00

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