Join GNI

GNI membership brings together individual experts (including academics joining in their personal capacity) and academic institutions, civil society organizations, ICT companies, and investors from all over the world to promote privacy and freedom of expression. All constituencies play an active role in promoting the GNI Principles and work collaboratively in a multistakeholder manner, while maintaining distinct roles. For example:

  • Academics bring analysis, research, and insight into trends to the work of GNI;
  • Civil Society Organizations bring their in-depth knowledge and expertise on human rights along with direct connection to people on the ground in many countries around the world;
  • Companies commit to implementing and upholding the GNI Principles within their organizations; and
  • Investors include consideration of the issues covered in the GNI Principles into their investment decision making.

This page outlines the application requirements by constituency and the membership application process. Interested organizations and individuals are encouraged to contact GNI at [email protected] to express their interest in GNI membership before submitting a statement of intent (SOI).

ACADEMICS

The academic constituency is open to individual experts (including academics) joining in their personal capacity and academic institutions.

Individual Experts, including Academics

The academic constituency allows members to join in their personal capacity. Potential applicants may be academics affiliated with a university or other institution of higher education in a given country, dedicated to independent research and teaching in the university environment in areas related to GNI’s mandate, and who want to join in an individual capacity. Potential applicants may also be independent experts who possess appropriate work history and demonstrable expertise in human rights and/or the Internet and ICT sector. Publications, advocacy and/or public speaking on subjects relevant to GNI are preferred, but not necessarily required from potential applicants. To apply for GNI membership as individual experts or academics, please review the relevant SOI requirements.

SOI Requirements for Individual Experts, including Academics

    • State your intent to join the academic constituency.
    • Articulate your interest in joining GNI, more specifically:
      — How does your work relate to GNI’s mandate and policy priorities?
      — Linked examples of your work as it relates to the GNI Principles.
      — Have you ever participated in GNI events/activities or worked with other digital rights organizations, including any GNI members? If yes, please explain.
    • Your expectations and commitments, more specifically:
      — How will GNI membership benefit you?
      — Is your intention to join GNI informed by a specific experience regarding human/digital rights? If yes, please explain.
      — What do you plan to contribute to GNI?
      — Do you commit to implement and/or advance the GNI Principles and Implementation Guidelines?
      — Do you commit to actively participate in and contribute to GNI meetings and shared learning and collective action on GNI-related issues?
      — Do you commit to abide by the confidential nature of the discussions within GNI?

Also Include:

    • A curriculum vitae.
    • A minimum of two professional references
    • A brief description of your areas of academic interests, expertise, and research foci

Academics who serve in a personal capacity do not pay a membership fee.

Institutions

The academic constituency is also open to research centers, clinics, institutes, or other entities affiliated with academic institutions of higher education involved in independent research and/or teaching in the areas related to GNI’s mandate. To apply for GNI membership as an academic institution, please review the relevant SOI requirements.

SOI Requirements for Academic Institutions

    • State your intent to join the academic constituency.
    • A brief description of your organization with an institutional link, your institution’s academic interests and research focus, and the location where you are based. Please also state your mission and goals and specify if your work is relevant to specific populations and/or focused on particular geographical areas.
    • Your interest in joining GNI, more specifically:
      — How does your institution’s work relate to GNI’s mandate?
      — Linked examples of your organization’s work as it relates to the GNI Principles.
      — Has your organization ever participated in GNI events/activities or worked with other digital rights organizations, including any GNI members? If yes, please explain.
    • Your expectations and commitments:
      — How will GNI membership benefit your institution?
      — Is your intention to join GNI informed by a specific experience of your organization regarding human/digital rights? If yes, please explain.
      — What does your organization plan to contribute to GNI?
      — Do you commit to implement and advance the GNI Principles and Implementation Guidelines?
      — Do you commit to actively participate in and contribute to GNI meetings and shared learning and collective action on GNI-related issues?
      — Do you commit to abide by the confidential nature of the discussions within GNI?

Academic Institutions pay nominal annual dues of at least $100 USD.

CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANIZATIONS

The civil society constituency is open to research or advocacy-oriented civil society organizations working on digital rights issues at global, regional, national, or local level. To apply for GNI membership as a civil society organization, please review the relevant SOI requirements.

SOI Requirements for Civil Society Organizations

    • State your intent to join the civil society constituency.
    • A brief description of your organization including an institutional link, your areas of expertise and focus, the location where you are registered/incorporated, and the geographic areas where you operate. Please also state your mission and goals and specify which communities you serve.
    • Your interest in joining GNI, more specifically:
      — How does GNI’s work relate to the work of your organization?
      — Linked examples of your organization’s work as it relates to the GNI Principles.
      — Has your organization ever participated in GNI events/activities or worked with other digital rights organizations, including any GNI members? If yes, please explain.
    • Your expectations and commitments, more specifically:
      — How will GNI membership benefit your organization?
      — Is your intention to join GNI informed by a specific experience your organization had regarding human/digital rights? If yes, please explain.
      — What does your organization plan to contribute to GNI?
      — Do you commit to implement and/or advance the GNI Principles and Implementation Guidelines?
      — Do you commit to actively participate in and contribute to GNI meetings and shared learning and collective action on GNI-related issues?
      — Do you commit to abide by the confidential nature of the discussions within GNI?

Civil society organizations pay nominal annual dues of at least $100 USD.

ICT COMPANIES

The company constituency is open to ICT sector entities who consider that they would benefit from implementing the GNI Principles and Implementation Guidelines. These may include equipment manufacturers, network operators, telecommunications, or Internet service providers. Such entities are usually for-profit or benefit corporations but may also be not-for-profit in nature. Applicants to this constituency may apply first for a one-year “observer” status, which allows for participation in GNI’s policy and learning (but not assessment/accountability) activities on a trial basis. Learn more about the value of GNI membership for companies in this one pager. To apply for GNI membership or observer status as a company, please review the relevant SOI requirements.

SOI Requirements for ICT Companies

    • State your intent to join the company constituency and specify if you are applying for membership or observer status.
    • A brief description of your organization including an institutional link, your areas of expertise and focus, the location where you are incorporated, and the geographic areas where you operate. Please also specify who your clients are (e.g., “Internet users around the world” or “technology companies based in Southeast Asia”)
    • Your interest in joining GNI, more specifically:
      — How does GNI’s work relate to the work of your organization?
      — Linked examples of your organization’s official positions on human rights issues. For example, a company Human Rights Policy that meets the standards of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) (Principles 15 and 16) or official statements that speak to human rights issues.
      — Has your organization ever participated in GNI events/activities or worked with other digital rights organizations, including any GNI members? If yes, please explain.
    • Your expectations and commitments:
      — How will GNI membership benefit your institution?
      — Is your intention to join GNI informed by a specific experience your organization had regarding human/digital rights? If yes, please explain.
      — What does your organization plan to contribute to GNI?
      — Do you commit to implement and/or advance the GNI Principles and Implementation Guidelines?
      — Do you commit to actively participate in and contribute to GNI meetings and shared learning and collective action on GNI-related issues?
      — Do you commit to abide by the confidential nature of the discussions within GNI?

Companies pay annual membership fees on a sliding scale according to revenue. Observers pay a reduced fee of 30 percent of full membership.

INVESTORS

The investor constituency is open to investment firms or groups anywhere in the world. To apply for GNI membership as an investor, please review the relevant SOI requirements.

SOI Requirements for Investors

    • State your intent to join the investor constituency.
    • A brief description of your organization including an institutional link, your areas of expertise and focus, the location where you are incorporated, and the geographic areas where you operate. Please also state in general terms who your clients are.
    • Your interest in joining GNI, more specifically:
      — How does GNI’s work relate to the work of your organization?
      — Has your organization ever participated in GNI events/activities or worked with other digital rights organizations, including any GNI members? If yes, please explain.
    • Your expectations and commitments:
      — How will GNI membership benefit your institution?
      — Is your intention to join GNI informed by a specific experience your organization had regarding human/digital rights? If yes, please explain.
      — What does your organization plan to contribute to GNI?
      — Do you commit to implement and/or advance the GNI Principles and Implementation Guidelines?
      — Do you commit to actively participate in and contribute to GNI meetings and shared learning and collective action on GNI-related issues?
      — Do you commit to abide by the confidential nature of the discussions within GNI?

Investors pay nominal annual dues of at least $100 USD.

MEMBERSHIP APPLICATION PROCESS OVERVIEW

Step 1 – A Statement of Intent

Interested organizations and individuals are encouraged to contact GNI at [email protected] to express their interest in GNI membership before submitting a SOI. When submitting a SOI, please follow the criteria per constituency as described on this page.

Step 2 – Follow Up

Once we have received your SOI, GNI staff may contact you to discuss membership in more detail, if your application is viable.

Step 3 – Consultation with existing GNI participants

We will talk with members of the constituency that you plan to join. For example, if you are an academic, we will consult with the academic constituency. As a next step, your application materials will be reviewed by our multistakeholder Membership Committee.

Step 4 – Decision by the GNI Board

As a final step, the Executive Director will make a recommendation to the GNI Board members who will then vote on your application.

Step 5 – Notification of the GNI Board’s decision

You will be contacted by the Executive Director to inform you of the GNI Board’s decision.