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Investor Actions on the Digital Rights and AI Accountability

Corporate Engagement

The Investor Alliance coordinates engagements with over 20 technology companies focused on digital rights using benchmarked data from Ranking Digital Rights. Digital Rights risks are risks to the rights to privacy, free expression, and non-discrimination, including risks connected to the development and deployment of AI technologies.  The engagement is based on the collective endorsement by over 170 institutional investors representing $9.2 trillion in assets of investor expectations of tech companies on their corporate accountability for digital rights of users and society at large.

The salient issues addressed include content management, misinformation, disinformation and hate speech, censorship, internet shutdowns and government take-down requests, systemic discrimination and biased AI, and surveillance-based and targeted advertising business models.

There are over 30 investors who participate in this direct and focused engagements with tech companies, forming our Digital Rights & AI Accountability investor working group. We work hand-in-hand with investor leads with the expertise of of RDR's researchers on engagement strategies. We also organize briefings and workshops by experts on relevant or pressing issues as well as engagement with digital rights groups who are adversely impacted by technology, to inform, enable, and deepen investor engagement. This working group meets quarterly and through these collective engagements have enable peer-to-peer investor learning, thereby building investor leadership and capabilities in addressing tech and human rights issues, and as well to build collaboration between investors and impacted stakeholders. 

If you would like to get involved, please contact Anita Dorett at

Investor Impact 

Through engagement with tech companies from as early as 2019, augmented by our 2021 digital rights and AI accountability engagement initiative, investors' collective advocacy has been an important lever in the uptake by tech companies of public commitments on human rights and responsible AI, the conduct of human rights impact assessment, and increased transparency through publication of human rights and other related reports. Investors have organized and participated in regular corporate dialogues with tech companies, participated in multi-stakeholder initiatives and roundtable discussion alongside tech companies, digital rights organizations and policy makers that have advanced corporate respect for digital rights. 

With big tech, tech and human rights proposals have been filed by investors to escalate the discussion of salient digital rights at the annual general meeting of shareholders. These proposals call out the unchecked power and influence tech giants wield over users and society and highlight how a lack of adequate oversight structures to mitigate potential harm poses risks for all stakeholders.

Investors' advocacy for more robust tech regulation contributed to the EU Digital Services Act incorporating bans on using sensitive data (such as religious and political opinions, sexual preferences, and health data) for targeted advertisements and a ban on targeted advertising to children. 

Collaboration with Civil Society

Investor engagements are informed and built through our strong collaboration with civil society stakeholders and digital rights experts. CSO allies' invaluable technical expertise, coupled with original research and findings, enhances our understanding of the profound impacts of technology on vulnerable communities, users, and society. Key allies in this collaborative effort include Ranking Digital Rights, Access Now, Open Mic, Amnesty International, European Centre for Non-Profit Law, and European Digital Rights (EDRi).

Outreach to Policymakers 

The Investor Alliance initiates and facilitates engagement with governments and standard-setting bodies to strengthen standards and policies relating to respecting human rights online. We support advocacy for the implementation of strategic and robust regulatory measures to foster environments that enable responsible business conduct online and in the use of technology, including AI.

You can learn more about our tech and AI policy work here. This includes:

  • public submission filed in July 2023 with the U.S. National Telecommunications and Information Administration, which underscored the imperative for AI policy to include mandatory human rights due diligence (HRDD) requirements, prohibitions and restrictions on AI use in high-risk situations, along with implementing safeguards for AI systems utilized in law enforcement and national security contexts.

  • investor statement signed by 149 global institutional investors signatories, representing over $1.66 trillion in assets, sent in Feb 2023 to the European legislative bodies, supporting the proposed EU Artificial Intelligence Act with recommendations for the adoption of meaningful HRDD and disclosure requirements for developing and deploying AI systems, mandating stakeholder participation, and implementing safeguards for high-risk AI systems for national security purposes.

  • investor statement from Feb 2022 signed by 65 global investors managing assets exceeding $8.7 trillion supporting the EU Digital Services Act and advocating for more robust measures to mitigate risks associated with algorithmic-driven surveillance in online advertising and content management - which achieved a modicum of success in protecting the rights of vulnerable groups enacted in the final legislation.


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