The Global Network Initiative is pleased to announce that the Open Technology Institute at New America has become the newest member of our multi-stakeholder freedom of expression and privacy platform.

From today, OTI will join our civil society constituency, working alongside a diverse group of international and regionally-based internet and telecommunications companies, academics, investors, human rights and press freedom groups that promote digital rights around the world.

“OTI brings to GNI their formidable combination of policy advocacy, technology research and innovation,” said Mark Stephens, CBE., international human rights lawyer and GNI Independent Board Chair. “Our members look forward to engaging with them on a global agenda for privacy, transparency and freedom of expression in the ICT sector,” he said.

“After having worked collaboratively with many of GNI’s members for so long, OTI is proud to finally be an official member of this critically important multi-stakeholder alliance,” said Kevin Bankston, OTI Director.

“OTI’s mission is to ensure that all communities have access to an open and secure internet, and promoting GNI’s human rights-based principles is a key pathway to achieving that goal. We’re glad to see so many internet companies making an explicit commitment through GNI to protect the privacy and free expression of their users around the world, a commitment we are eager to help them fulfil,” he said.

Based in Washington, DC, OTI works at the intersection of technology and policy, with a focus on ensuring universal access to an open and secure internet. Often working in coalition with the internet industry as well as the activist community, OTI’s multidisciplinary team of advocates, researchers, organizers, and technologists have most recently focused their work on defending net neutrality, fighting for the right to encrypt, opposing overreaching internet surveillance, and promoting corporate best practices around internet privacy, security and transparency.

“We’re excited to welcome OTI to the Global Network Initiative,” said Emma Llansó, Director of the Free Expression Project at the Center for Democracy and Technology, and co-chair of GNI’s Policy Committee. “OTI is known for their thoughtful advocacy, technical expertise, and commitment to human rights, all of which will serve to strengthen GNI’s growing membership.”

All GNI companies that join GNI commit to the GNI Principles on Freedom of Expression and Privacy, which are informed by international human rights instruments – among them the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. Member companies are subject to an independent biannual assessment of their adherence to these principles.

The GNI Principles guide responsible company policy when responding to government requests to hand over, censor or restrict access to user data. They also require companies to uphold best practice standards, including on transparency, privacy by design, and the conduct of human rights due diligence when they launch a new product, and when they enter or leave a market.

GNI has four constituencies collaborating to promote government and company accountability – academics, civil society, investors and ICT companies. Our twelve company members are Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Millicom, Nokia, Orange, Telefónica, Telenor Group, Telia Company, Vodafone Group and Yahoo. The civil society constituency membership includes Human Rights Watch, the Committee to Protect Journalists, The Centre for Internet and Society India, Bolo Bhi Pakistan and Colombia-based Fundación Karisma.

More information about GNI’s mission and membership is on our website.

For more information about the Open Technology Institute, visit the OTI website.