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Information and Communication Technologies (ICT)

The Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) sector has a vital role to play in realizing human rights and in achieving the vision laid out in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including by facilitating mobile banking and remote learning and enabling greater citizen participation, freedom of expression, and coordination of democratic movements through social media platforms. Yet, ICT companies can cause, contribute to, or be directly linked to adverse impacts on workers, users, customers, or other individuals through business activities or as a result of business relationships, including throughout their value chains.

Human rights issues in the ICT sector include privacy, censorship, surveillance, artificial intelligence, and automation as well as range of value chain impacts, such as child labor, forced labor, conflict, and discrimination.

While some companies have started embracing their responsibility to respect human rights in line with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, including by joining multi-stakeholder initiatives like the Global Network Initiative (GNI), most are at an early stage of adopting and implementing human rights policies and processes, and few are disclosing information on these efforts. For example, the Ranking Digital Rights 2019 Corporate Accountability Index found that many companies in the sector disclose little or no information on due diligence or board oversight of risks affecting online privacy and expression.

Our campaign therefore seeks to press ICT companies to adopt and implement human rights policies and processes that respect human rights, including mechanisms that enable remedy for victims of abuses. We also engage governments and standard-setting bodies to help ensure that these entities create enabling environments for responsible business conduct.

Campaign activities include:

  • Investor letters and statements to ICT companies

  • Company dialogues on human rights due diligence

  • Shareholder resolutions

  • Convening and participating in multi-stakeholder discussions

  • Engaging with government actors, as well as international and regional institutions to strengthen legislation, regulation, policies, and other relevant standards aimed at promoting corporate respect for human rights


Key Resources

For more information, contact Paloma Muñoz Quick at pmunozquick@iccr.org