Global Network Initiative Statement on Internet Shutdown in Egypt

Friday, January 28, 2011 - 17:12

The Global Network Initiative (GNI) is deeply concerned that the people of Egypt have been denied access to Internet and telecommunications services.  This almost unprecedented step has enormous implications for human rights.  

The GNI acknowledges the difficult situation faced by companies that provide Internet and telecommunications services.  We urge companies to take action to protect freedom of expression and privacy, and preserve a free and open Internet.  We urge the Egyptian government to respect its international human rights commitments.

Information and Communications Technology (ICT) companies have a primary role in the operation of global communications networks that enable the free flow of information.  All over the world, companies face the challenge of government laws and practices that violate international human rights norms.  Companies can find themselves under duress from governments to operate in ways that go beyond legally accountable law enforcement activities.  In these circumstances, a valuable first step for companies is to be transparent and have human rights principles in place to govern their response.  

GNI can help companies develop strategies to operate in a manner that protects and advances human 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.

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