RDR in the Public Eye

As issues of encryption, security, and online content restriction dominate the headlines, the RDR team continues to speak and write publicly about why it’s important for companies in the ICT sector to respect users’ freedom of expression and privacy.

Screenshot of the Ford Foundation's Q & A with Rebecca MacKinnon

Screenshot of the Ford Foundation’s Q & A with Rebecca MacKinnon

The Ford Foundation, which supports RDR’s work, featured a Q-and-A with Rebecca MacKinnon focused on the question, “Are tech companies doing enough to protect consumer rights and privacy?

The team has been active in broader policy discussions about digital rights. MacKinnon participated in a panel on “How to Fight ISIS Without Breaking the Internet” at the South by Southwest Interactive Festival. She spoke about RDR and the state of global Internet freedom in at a congressional briefing on “Internet Freedom in the Age of Dictators and Terrorists” organized by the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the Helsinki Commission. She also joined a panel on “Digital Globalization: The New Era of Global Flows and What it Means for the United States” hosted by New America.

RDR continues to engage with stakeholders about the Corporate Accountability Index, how it is being used, and how we can continue to improve and expand it.  Allon Bar and Nathalie Maréchal ran three sessions related to RDR at the Internet Freedom Festival. Priya Kumar participated in a panel on digital rights at the Media Consortium’s annual conference.

In recent weeks, RDR released several documents that build on and extend its work. Spanish translations of the 2015 Corporate Accountability Index methodologyexecutive summary, and report on Mexico-based telco América Móvil are now available on RDR’s website. A Spanish translation of the full report is coming soon. RDR also submitted comments to the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion and Expression and published an in-depth analysis of the Index’s transparency reporting findings.

Policymakers, educators, and journalists are citing RDR and its work. The Corporate Accountability Index was cited in a paper by the Global Commission on Internet Governance on “The Privatization of Human Rights: Illusions of Consent, Automation, and Neutrality.” A University of Helsinki course, Media Reform: Issues and Stakeholders, references RDR’s Index. MacKinnon was quoted in a Reuters story about India’s recent decision to ban Internet service programs such as Facebook’s Free Basics on the grounds that they violate net neutrality principles.

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