Next steps for RDR

Since the November 2015 launch of the Corporate Accountability Index our team has kept busy: As we’ve reported over recent months, we’ve been speaking at conferences and workshops, writing articles, and producing a Spanish translation of the 2015 Index report and related materials.

We’ve also been seeking feedback about the Index from all of our stakeholders – companies, investors, policymakers, and civil society – to learn how the data and analysis is being used, what aspects of the Index have had greatest impact on whom, and how we can improve both the Index itself and the way we communicate about it. More broadly, we are engaging with stakeholders in wider conversations about standards and best practices for the ICT sector on privacy and freedom of expression – and what different stakeholders around the world can do to advance them.

On top of all that, we have been busy fundraising and writing grant proposals. The reality is that we started 2016 without the funds needed to produce another iteration of the Index this year. Thanks to our team’s hard work, we are now optimistic that by mid-2016 we will have secured sufficient funding to release an expanded and improved version of the Index in the first half of 2017. We hope to be able to put the Index on an annual cycle after that. If our optimism for this year’s funding proves correct, the plan is to start a new research cycle in the second half of 2016. Meanwhile, we are getting ready for the next Index in several ways:

  • Reviewing the Index methodology in relation to the results and feedback we’ve received so far;
  • Making decisions – in consultation with stakeholders – about how and to what extent the methodology, research process, and research guidance and training should be revised or adjusted;
  • Exploring the possibility of adding/adapting some indicators to accommodate the addition to the Index of companies whose primary products are devices and software;
  • Deciding how many companies to add and which ones, based on a realistic assessment of our resources;
  • Developing a long-term adoption and outreach strategy to support a global community of researchers and advocates interested in using and/or building upon the Index results in a range of ways around the world.

Anybody interested in engaging with us as we prepare for the next Index is encouraged to follow this blog for continued updates. Feel free to post comments with your ideas or email us at info@rankingdigitalrights.org with any feedback you’d like to share. If you are attending RightsCon in San Francisco next week, be sure to join our sessions where we are inviting people from the worlds of human rights activism, academia, government, and corporations to help us improve and build upon the Index so that we can maximize its usefulness and impact.

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