Global Network Initiative

Global Network Initiative Protecting and Advancing Freedom of Expression and Privacy in Information and Communications Technologies All over the world – from the Americas to Europe to the Middle East to Africa and Asia – companies in the Information & Communications Technology (ICT) sector face increasing government pressure to comply with domestic laws and policies in ways that may conflict with the internationally recognized human rights of freedom of expression and privacy.
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In response, a multi-stakeholder group of companies, civil society organizations (including human rights and press freedom groups), investors and academics spent two years negotiating and creating a collaborative approach to protect and advance freedom of expression and privacy in the ICT sector, and have formed an Initiative to take this work forward.

Mission: GNI exists to provide guidance to the ICT industry and its stakeholders on how to protect and advance the human rights of freedom of expression and privacy when faced with pressures from governments to take actions that infringe upon these rights.

Operating as usual

#ContentRegulation is hard. Key issues to watch out for:i) Over-ambitious scope regarding range of content - regulation ...
10/15/2020
Addressing Digital Harms AND Protecting Human Rights — GNI Shares Recommendations for Policymakers

#ContentRegulation is hard. Key issues to watch out for:

i) Over-ambitious scope regarding range of content - regulation needs to recognize that hate speech is different from disinformation, and Facebook is different from Tinder.

(ii) Definitional uncertainty - many initiatives fail to clearly define the categories of content they seek to restrict, and some explicitly seek to restrict content that is admittedly legal.

(iii) Privatizing enforcement - many initiatives use carrots and/or sticks to deputize private companies as judge, jury, and executioner of content, often without fully contemplating the impacts this may have on #freedomofexpression, #privacy, democracy, or competition.

(iv) Overreliance on technology to improve technology - some #contentregulation efforts require/incentivize use of automated filters to identify & adjudicate offending content or conduct, notwithstanding well-documented limitations of such tools.

(v) Putting privacy at risk - at a time when privacy rights are increasingly threatened by corporate and government surveillance, some #contentregulation efforts undermine user safety and security.

For more on all of this, see our brief:
https://bit.ly/2Izwnpl

and related blog series:
https://bit.ly/3ikV8l7

Washington, D.C./Amsterdam — Today the Global Network Initiative (GNI) issued a policy brief that uses human rights to analyze more than 20 recent, governmental initiatives that claim to address various forms of digital harm. Informed by this analysis, the brief offers practical guidance for gover...

Our #contentregulation policy brief explores the ways good governance & #humanrights principles provide time-tested guid...
10/14/2020
Addressing Digital Harms AND Protecting Human Rights — GNI Shares Recommendations for Policymakers

Our #contentregulation policy brief explores the ways good governance & #humanrights principles provide time-tested guidance for how laws, regulations, and policy actions can be most appropriately and effectively designed and carried out. Some of the key lessons learned:

make sure #contentregulation efforts
(i) are open & inclusive;
(ii) are carefully thought-through & evidence-based;
(iii) use clear definitions & make obligations targeted to services that face the most risk & are best positioned to address it;
(iv) focus on strong transparency, remedy, & oversight.

https://globalnetworkinitiative.org/content-regulation-policy-brief/

Washington, D.C./Amsterdam — Today the Global Network Initiative (GNI) issued a policy brief that uses human rights to analyze more than 20 recent, governmental initiatives that claim to address various forms of digital harm. Informed by this analysis, the brief offers practical guidance for gover...

10/13/2020

We are pleased to release our “Content Regulation Policy Brief,” which we hope will be a useful resource for all stakeholders grappling with how to address content-related harms AND uphold #humanrights online.

This brief, which analyzes more than a dozen governments’ online content regulation initiatives, is the product of extensive consultation with GNI’s multistakeholder, expert members.

Check out the brief in full, with insights and recommendations for rights-respecting legislation, here:

https://globalnetworkinitiative.org/content-regulation-policy-brief/

In July, GNI participated in RightsCon Online to discuss legal frameworks authorizing direct access, which can generally...
09/17/2020
Fighting Internet Shutdowns, Turkey's Social Media Bill, Content Regulation in Pakistan, New GNI Member & Observer, and more!

In July, GNI participated in RightsCon Online to discuss legal frameworks authorizing direct access, which can generally be understood to refer to a government’s ability to copy, retrieve, or receive user data directly from a communications network, with potential risks for individuals’ #Privacy. One goal of the discussion was to move toward a shared understanding of what direct access means. An international panel discussed legislation in India, Kenya, Pakistan, and the U.S., highlighting both nuances and shared concerns. Read more about the GNI RightsCon panel in our newsletter and subscribe today! /bit.ly/2FOgk5n

These measures can vary significantly, and the session featured presentations from GNI members on various direct access mechanisms in India, Kenya, Pakistan, and the United States, highlighting unique nuances and overlapping concerns across jurisdictions. Each presenter focused on six key aspects of...

@theGNI is thrilled to announce that @Cloudflare is joining GNI as an observer. “We believe Cloudflare’s cybersecurity e...
08/26/2020
Cloudflare joins the Global Network Initiative as an Observer

@theGNI is thrilled to announce that @Cloudflare is joining GNI as an observer. “We believe Cloudflare’s cybersecurity expertise will add great value to our diversity of perspectives on ICT and human rights,” said GNI Executive Director, Judith Lichtenberg.Founded in 2010, Cloudflare powers more than 25 million web properties operating in over 100 countries. “A better Internet is not only faster, safer, and more reliable, but also helps support freedom of expression and privacy. To that end, we believe that joining GNI as an observer would help us formalize and structure our continued efforts to respect and promote human rights,” said Cloudflare General Counsel, Doug Kramer. https://bit.ly/3hwVdmi

The Global Network Initiative (GNI) is thrilled to announce that Cloudflare, a security, performance, and reliability company, is joining GNI as an observer. During the 12-month observer period Cloudflare representatives will participate in GNI’s learning and policy activities. Founded in 2010, Cl...

@theGNI is thrilled to announce that @Cloudflare is joining GNI as an observer. “We believe Cloudflare’s cybersecurity e...
08/26/2020
Cloudflare joins the Global Network Initiative as an Observer

@theGNI is thrilled to announce that @Cloudflare is joining GNI as an observer. “We believe Cloudflare’s cybersecurity expertise will add great value to our diversity of perspectives on ICT and human rights,” said GNI Executive Director, Judith Lichtenberg.Founded in 2010, Cloudflare powers more than 25 million web properties operating in over 100 countries. “A better Internet is not only faster, safer, and more reliable, but also helps support freedom of expression and privacy. To that end, we believe that joining GNI as an observer would help us formalize and structure our continued efforts to respect and promote human rights,” said Cloudflare General Counsel, Doug Kramer. https://bit.ly/3hwVdmi

The Global Network Initiative (GNI) is thrilled to announce that Cloudflare, a security, performance, and reliability company, is joining GNI as an observer. During the 12-month observer period Cloudflare representatives will participate in GNI’s learning and policy activities. Founded in 2010, Cl...

The Global Network Initiative (GNI) is pleased to announce that LINE Corporation is now a GNI member after participating...
08/14/2020
GNI Welcomes LINE Corporation as a Company Member

The Global Network Initiative (GNI) is pleased to announce that LINE Corporation is now a GNI member after participating as an observer for one year since April 15, 2019. LINE is the first Asian company to join the other 14 leading information and communications technology companies and more than 50 academic, civil society, and investor members globally in advocating GNI policy priorities to protect data privacy and freedom of expression. https://bit.ly/2XYbPeM

The Global Network Initiative (GNI) is pleased to announce that LINE Corporation is now a GNI member after participating as an observer for one year since April 15, 2019. With this membership, LINE becomes the first Asian company to join other leading information communications and technology compan...

The Supreme Court of #Brazil is penalizing Internet companies that refuse to enforce injunctions to remove or de-list co...
08/04/2020
GNI Statement on Domestic Cases Asserting Global Internet Jurisdiction

The Supreme Court of #Brazil is penalizing Internet companies that refuse to enforce injunctions to remove or de-list content globally, as opposed to strictly for Brazilian Internet users. Such global takedown orders are troubling for freedom of expression and privacy. GNI has previously noted the risks of governments asserting global authority online via global removal orders: https://bit.ly/3fqVwgI.

Global removal orders can inhibit the ability of ICT companies to respect the #freedomofexpression rights of their users since the same content may not be prohibited and may even be protected in other jurisdictions. They can also infringe on well-established and traditionally respected concepts related to sovereignty, conflict of law, and international comity.

In our previous statement, GNI expressed concern that two Court of Justice of the European Union decisions and one from the Delhi High Court pertaining to global removal orders could “presage a future of the Internet where domestic authorities assert control over content available outside their geographical boundaries."

GNI encourages supervisory/regulatory and judicial authorities around the world to refrain from asserting global jurisdiction on the Internet and imposing global removal orders. GNI calls on states, companies, and other concerned stakeholders to work diligently to establish global standards for the appropriate scope of application on domestic legal orders on global Internet companies, based on international law, that protect freedom of expression and privacy.

The Global Network Initiative (GNI) is deeply concerned by recent rulings of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) that fail to sufficiently consider the risks posed when authorities in European countries assert legal jurisdiction over Internet content beyond their corresponding territor...

GNI is very concerned with the social media bill introduced on July 20 and currently being considered by the Turkish Par...
07/28/2020
GNI Statement on Proposed Social Media Bill in Turkey

GNI is very concerned with the social media bill introduced on July 20 and currently being considered by the Turkish Parliament. The bill contains problematic provisions that are likely to complicate the operation of social media services & challenge the ability of Turkish citizens to freely exercise their rights.

GNI has consistently raised concerns about proposals to compel local representation, data localization, and arbitrary and inflexible removal timelines on the grounds that they create unnecessary and disproportionate impacts on users’ #HumanRights, and we note that various courts around the world have recently invalidated laws regulating online content on these same grounds. The strict penalties for failing to establish local offices could "effectively amount to network disruption." GNI calls on lawmakers in #Turkey to seek further analysis and consultation before moving this legislation forward.
https://globalnetworkinitiative.org/concerns-turkey-social-media-bill/

The Global Network Initiative (GNI) is very concerned about a new social media bill under consideration by the Turkish Parliament. The legislation, which proposes amendments to existing law, was introduced on Monday, July 20, and contains several problematic provisions that are likely to significant...

International human rights expert David Kaye will join the Global Network Initiative (GNI) as the new independent chair ...
07/22/2020
David Kaye to Join the Global Network Initiative as Independent Board Chair

International human rights expert David Kaye will join the Global Network Initiative (GNI) as the new independent chair of its Board of Directors later this Fall. In welcoming David Kaye as GNI's new independent chair, GNI’s Executive Director Judith Lichtenberg noted that, “David is one of the world’s leading intellectual and moral voices on human rights and technology policy. We could not think of a better person to lead GNI into our second decade of work at the intersection of these key issues.” See the full announcement: https://bit.ly/3ju9K3z

WASHINGTON, DC/AMSTERDAM/LONDON – International human rights expert David Kaye will join the Global Network Initiative as the new independent chair of its Board of Directors. Mr. Kaye will assume his position later this Fall upon completing his term as United Nations Special Rapporteur on the

As governments consider various ways to address online harms from user-generated content, many will look to Europe's eme...
07/14/2020
The European Union’s Emerging Approach to Content Regulation

As governments consider various ways to address online harms from user-generated content, many will look to Europe's emerging approach to content regulation with the Digital Services Act, which could "presage a broader shift in how digital content is governed globally."

In this piece, GNI Policy Director Jason Pielemeier helps set the stage with an overview of recent developments in EU policy making around the DSA. The piece will be followed by an expert look from GNI members, using a human rights lens, on key elements the DSA is likely to cover, including scope of content covered; the range of services regulated; transparency obligations; algorithmic auditing; notice-and-action frameworks; and enforcement and remedy. Follow the GNI blog for more: https://medium.com/global-network-initiative-collection

https://medium.com/global-network-initiative-collection/the-european-unions-emerging-approach-to-content-regulation-ca07f7e67db6?source=friends_link&sk=e48038b8adddc3832fcbca06deb9ed4e

An overview of recent developments related to the Digital Services Act

Follow GNI's newest blog series on content regulation and human rights. Over the last year, GNI members have extensively...
07/14/2020
The “Rights” Foundation

Follow GNI's newest blog series on content regulation and human rights.

Over the last year, GNI members have extensively analyzed governments' efforts to address concerns about content and conduct online, with a focus on proposals that shift legal liability from those generating illegal content to ICT intermediaries. In this series, GNI staff, members, and collaborators reflect on this work and provide practical guidance on addressing online harms while upholding human rights. Read the first post from GNI Policy Director Jason Pielemeier outlining key considerations for policymakers and watch this space in the coming weeks!

https://bit.ly/304EC1L

An Introduction to GNI’s Blog Series on content regulation and human rights featuring key considerations for policymakers around the world.

Several provisions of the proposed "Law of Freedom, Responsibility, and Transparency on the Internet” in #Brazil would b...
06/29/2020
GNI Expresses Concern About Brazil’s Proposed ‘Fake News’ Law

Several provisions of the proposed "Law of Freedom, Responsibility, and Transparency on the Internet” in #Brazil would be counterproductive to the stated intent of ensuring accurate information reaches Brazilian citizens and pose risks for #freedomofexpression and #privacy.

The National Congress of Brazil should heed calls from international experts and civil society and take care to respect the rights enshrined in the landmark Marco Civil da Internet legislation by rejecting the bill and engaging in meaningful and transparent multi-stakeholder consultation to find a truly rights-respecting way forward.

https://globalnetworkinitiative.org/gni-concerns-brazil-fake-news-law/

The Global Network Initiative (GNI) is very concerned by provisions of the “Brazilian Law of Freedom, Responsibility and Transparency on the Internet” bill (PL No. 2630), which has been introduced in the Brazilian Senate and on which voting is expected to continue on June 30. GNI understands the...

GNI is thrilled to announce that, after participating as an observer, the Wikimedia Foundation, the nonprofit behind Wik...
06/24/2020
Wikimedia Foundation Joins the Global Network Initiative as Company Member

GNI is thrilled to announce that, after participating as an observer, the Wikimedia Foundation, the nonprofit behind Wikipedia, is expanding their participation with GNI to become a company member. The Foundation will join 13 leading information and communications technology (ICT) companies and more than 50 academic, civil society, and investor members from around the world to advocate for shared GNI policy priorities. “The Wikimedia Foundation’s experience as a global platform positions them to significantly contribute to the conversations among GNI companies, while their unique perspective as a non-profit hosting provider will benefit all GNI members,” said GNI Executive Director Judith Lichtenberg. https://bit.ly/3ezwqMU

The Global Network Initiative (GNI) is thrilled to announce that, after participating as an observer, the Wikimedia Foundation, the nonprofit behind Wikipedia, is expanding their participation with GNI to become a company member. The Foundation will join 13 leading information and communications tec...

"The GNI Principles aim to guide companies on how to handle requests from governments to censor content, restrict access...
06/04/2020
Companies Must Defend Digital Rights in the COVID-19 Era | by Mark Stephens - Project Syndicate

"The GNI Principles aim to guide companies on how to handle requests from governments to censor content, restrict access to communications services, or share user data," said Mark Stephens CBE in the Project Syndicate Op-Ed: Companies Must Defend Digital Rights in the COVID-19 Era https://bit.ly/2U6doWc

Tech companies have a role to play in ensuring that people receive accurate information, especially during the current “infodemic.” And widespread contact tracing may help countries to reopen their economies more safely. But controlling content and handing user data over to governments is a slip...

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