01 Dic Global Network Initiative to Protect Online Privacy
Mediacaster, Canada, November 27, 2008
The new Global Network Initiative (GNI), created to combat online censorship and protect user privacy on the Internet, is inviting the public to participate in its introduction. An evening forumwill be held inParis on December 4, 2008, accoompanied by online activities. Along with its tech giant founders, such as Google, Microsoft and Yahoo!, online and human rights organizations including the Committee to Protect Journalists, Human Rights Watch and the World Press Freedom Committee, GNI members will participate in an open roundtable, to be followed by a discussion with the audience. The forum is taking place in conjunction with the International Seminar on Business and Human Rights, in celebration of the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Initiative is founded upon new Principles on Freedom of Expression and Privacy – supported by specific implementation commitments and a framework for accountability and learning – that provide a systematic approach for companies, NGOs, investors, academics and others to work together in resisting efforts by governments that seek to enlist companies in acts of censorship and surveillance that violate international standards. The Principles and accompanying Implementation Guidelines require significant new commitments from participating companies, including: establishing greater transparency with users; assessing human rights risk; requesting the legal rationale for government actions and policies; training employees; challenging human rights violations; and providing whistle-blowing mechanisms through which violations of the Principles can be reported. The participants recognize that responsible company actions alone cannot guarantee that human rights are not violated. Instead, governments have the ultimate responsibility to ensure that human rights are respected, protected, promoted and fulfilled. That is why the Initiative establishes significant new commitments for company, NGO, investor and academic participants to collaborate with each other to promote the rule of law and the adoption of laws, policies and practices that protect and respect freedom of expression and privacy.