In reaction to a column by Michael Skapinker in the Financial Times, GNI Executive Director Susan Morgan wrote this letter to the editor, “Collaborating over Human Rights:”
Sir, Michael Skapinker (“Business needs a world view of its own,” October 27) makes a salient point about the risks faced by companies, especially internet and telecoms companies, operating around the globe during a period of turbulent political change. Although he is right to note that it is not easy for companies to analyze complex political challenges and prepare appropriately, those companies seeking an ethical course of action need not act alone.
When it comes to human rights and technology, a number of companies are working collaboratively with civil society organizations, investors and academics to tackle these responsibilities as part of the Global Network Initiative. GNI’s principles on freedom of expression and privacy guide responsible decision-making when facing requests or demands from governments. Companies such as Google, Microsoft and Yahoo! have made commitments to protect the rights of their users and have gained the benefit of a network that enables shared learning and collective policy engagement with a global network of influential experts.
More companies should recognize the comparative advantage of collaboration when it comes to assuming their human rights responsibilities.Susan Morgan, Executive Director, Global Network Initiative, Washington, D.C., US