ICT firms that operate in repressive regimes have to find a balance that respects the human rights of users and fulfills their legal obligation to respond to authorities’ lawful demands

Government interference is one of the most imminent threats to consumer data and human rights around the world. Access to large pools of consumer data facilitates repressive regimes to squelch free speech and monitor and control citizens, particularly in places where the rule of law is weak.

As Peter Micek, head of global policy and legal counsel at Access Now, puts it: “Most directly, ICT companies procure, sell, ship, install, and maintain invasive surveillance and filtering technology in countries that routinely violate human rights.”
He gives the example of Hacking Team, a Milan-based information technology company that has been criticised for selling intrusion and surveillance capabilities to governments, law enforcement agencies and corporations in countries such as Saudi Arabia, Kazakhstan, and Bahrain, though the company says it has the ability to disable its software if it is used unethically.

“Companies have been caught developing, marketing, and providing surveillance technology catered to government campaigns against minority, marginalised, or vulnerable actors such as civil rights, religious and oppressed groups,” adds Micek. These include Black Lives Matter activists in the US, Falun Gong in China, and Anglophones in French-speaking Cameroon.

Over the past two years, partial and complete internet shutdowns have increased in scope and...

This content is premium content, and only accessible to subscribers. Please log in to view the content - or subscribe here.

For a free two week trial to Ethical Corporation, please click here.

Subscribe to read: Refusing to dance with dictators

Login

Subscribe

Trial

Already a subscriber? Login using the fields below.

To get access to this content, become an Ethical Corporation subscriber today.

Subscribe and join the likes of:

Subscribe here

If you haven't done so already, you can take out a complimentary, no-obligation 2 week trial to Ethical Corporation's subscription services.

Sign up here

Please note: if you've previously taken advantage of the 2 week trial, you won't be able to sign up again.

Close popup
Big data  Human rights  ICT  Black Lives Matter  Falun Gong  Cameroon  Microsoft  Vodafone  UN Guiding Principles 

comments powered by Disqus