Washington D.C./ Amsterdam / Stockholm — On December 10, 2017, the Global Network Initiative (GNI) welcomed Ericsson as its newest observer company. Ericsson provides communications services, software, and infrastructure in over 180 countries worldwide.
Ericsson brings to GNI’s international, multistakeholder collaboration on free expression and privacy a deep commitment to company human rights policies and due diligence practices and a strong understanding of the sector-wide challenges for information and communications technology (ICT) companies.
As a market leader in the telecommunications equipment space, Ericsson’s participation will enrich GNI’s work on the unique risks and opportunities for vendor companies.
“While the risks facing the various actors in the ICT ecosystem may differ, they can all benefit from exchanges of insights and best practices,” said GNI Executive Director Judith Lichtenberg.
“GNI companies — internet platforms, equipment providers, and telecommunications service providers alike — face growing pressures from governments that risk harming the rights of their users,” she added. “We are thrilled to bring Ericsson’s expertise on vendor-specific challenges and awareness on ICT and human rights to GNI, helping us further build our leverage and best practices on free expression and privacy for the entire ICT value chain.”
Elaine Weidman-Grunewald, senior vice president and chief sustainability and public affairs officer at Ericsson, said: “As understanding of the increasingly important interrelationship between ICT and human rights matures, stakeholder expectations about the role ICT companies can and should play are increasing.”
“Given the complex and fast-changing landscape of the ICT sector and its intersection with human rights, the trusted platform and diverse network of experts that GNI provides will provide key opportunities for dialogue and shared learning, and enhance our ability to influence the broader ICT sector.”
Observer status—which lasts for one year—is an opportunity for companies who are actively considering joining GNI to examine the multi-stakeholder initiative’s policy advocacy, as well as the expectations and impact of the GNI Principles on free expression and privacy, which all GNI members must commit to.
Unlike GNI’s member companies, observers do not formally commit to the GNI Principles and Implementation Guidelines and do not participate in GNI’s independent company assessment process.
On #HumanRightsDay 2017, Ericsson announced their participation in GNI on the company’s Technology for Good blog. Read more.