The RDR team welcomes the launch of Access Now’s latest advocacy campaign, targeting 10 of the companies evaluated in the 2015 Corporate Accountability Index. The campaign is a prime example of how advocacy groups can use the RDR Index findings for direct advocacy with companies in support of freedom of expression and privacy for technology users.
Access Now, a long-time RDR partner, launches its outreach efforts today, in the form of a campaign of public letters addressed to companies that RDR ranked. The letters offer specific recommendations to help companies improve their practices affecting users’ rights and freedoms, addressing issues such as data protection, content restriction, digital security, and remedy. The recommendations are based directly on the 2015 Corporate Accountability Index findings.
As we noted upon release of the results, of the 16 companies ranked in the inaugural 2015 Corporate Accountability Index, the highest scoring company received an aggregate score of 65%, reflecting great room for improvement throughout these industries. However, nearly all companies demonstrated some positive practices and approaches. Access Now’s letters acknowledge the specific positives demonstrated by each company. At the same time, the letters urge companies to take seriously the Index findings, and remind them that demonstrating respect for users’ human rights, and transparently acknowledging commitments to do so, is good for business.
In every case, the Index revealed steps that each company can take in the direction of better respect for freedom of expression and privacy, not dependent on changes in their home countries’ laws. Access Now’s campaign acknowledges these steps, and urges companies to commit to making these improvements.
In addition, this campaign aims to catalyze conversations between companies and civil society organizations in countries where these companies are headquartered. Civil society organizations dedicated to promoting human rights and internet freedom will have these recommendations, and the Corporate Accountability Index findings generally, as references to support their own campaigns and engagement efforts.
Access Now’s campaign will include direct follow-up with each of the companies addressed in the letters, in order to discuss recommendations and encourage engagement with the issues addressed in the Index. The letters recommend as a first step that companies convene a meeting of their corporate officers in order to digest the 2015 Corporate Accountability Index findings, and develop a response. This request builds upon existing and continuing engagement efforts already initiated by RDR in the the months since the publication of the inaugural 2015 Index, during which ranked companies were invited to provide feedback on the ranking process as well as to discuss recommendations.