Digital freedom

credit: Sentinel Project for Genocide Prevention http://thesentinelproject.org

Technology is a powerful tool for human rights. Through its reach and influence in all parts of the planet come opportunities for better lives. But information and communications technology (ICT) companies can also be involved in major human rights abuses: either by committing them directly, or by facilitating abuses by governments and other firms.

In this "Big Issue" area of our website you can use the navigation on the left, to:

Keep track of latest developments, and find out about key initiatives in the field like Rebecca MacKinnon's "Ranking Digital Rights" project and the "Digital Dangers" project of the Institute for Human Rights and Business, as well as sector-wide projects such as the Global Network Initiative and Telecommunications Industry Dialogue

You can learn how technology companies are responding or failing to respond - to allegations of human rights abuses.  Since 2005, we have invited companies in all sectors to provide public responses to civil society concerns about their human rights conduct.  Over that time, the proportion of overall approaches that are to firms in the ICT sector has trebled.

We also provide access to guidance for companies on how to manage their human rights impacts throughout their operations.  And examples of company's efforts to advance human rights, such as Yahoo's human rights impact assessments, Microsoft's implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, and Vodafone's transparency report on requests it receives from governments for users' data.  For more examples see the advances by ITC companies section.

Our 2014 Briefing Paper on this sector highlights key human rights issues for ICT firms: censorship; surveillance; privacy; broadening acesss; supply chain impacts and children's rights.

Briefing Paper 

Please get in touch with any questions, or suggestions of additions to this "Big Issue" on our site: Annabel Short, short (at) business-humanrights.org.

Get RSS feed of these results

Related stories and components

Item
19 October 2014

Book chapter offers guidance on freedom of expression & privacy for the ICT sector

Author: Michael Samway, former Deputy General Counsel at Yahoo!

"Business, Human Rights, and the Internet: A Framework for Implementation", book chapter in: Human Dignity and the Future of Global Institutions (eds., Anthony C. Arend and Mark P. Lagon), Georgetown University Press, 2014...

Read more

Article
8 October 2014

China: LinkedIn adheres to local requirements on censorship as it enters China market

Author: Paul Mozur & Vindu Goel, New York Times (USA)

"To Reach China, LinkedIn Plays by Local Rules", 9 October 2014...

Read more

Article
25 September 2014

Terms and Conditions May Apply: a documentary on internet privacy

Terms and Conditions May Apply is a documentary that investigates how governments and corporations access and utilize the data users provide by agreeing to the terms and conditions of websites, software installations and online purchases.

Read more

Article
25 September 2014
+ Français - Hide

Author: ITespresso (France)

« Bientôt une déclaration des droits de l'home numérique? », 22 septembre 2014...

Read more

Report
17 September 2014

BSR working paper commissioned by Microsoft on stakeholder engagement in human rights due diligence for ICT companies

Author: BSR

This working paper....was commissioned and funded by Microsoft’s Technology and Human Rights Center, though all final content decisions were made by BSR. The purpose of this paper is to address the challenges faced by information and communications...

Read more

Story
15 September 2014

UN Human Rights Council panel calls on govts. to ensure protection of privacy rights in digital age

See full story

Story
8 September 2014

US Dept. of Commerce publishes list of smelters processing potential conflict minerals

See full story

Story
7 September 2014

UNICEF & ITU release guidelines for information & communications technology sector on protecting children online

Joint initiative by the International Telecommunication Union and UNICEF.

See full story

Article
25 August 2014

Access commentary on UN Working Group visit to Azerbaijan

Author: Access

UN investigates business and human rights in Azerbaijan, 22 Aug 2014...

Read more

Story
21 August 2014

"How social media is fighting back" against terrorist propaganda after killing of journalist

See full story