For the first time, Ranking Digital Rights is publishing a stand-alone report on global telecom providers to shine a light on the role that these infrastructure providers play in both expanding and restricting human rights. While telco issues have failed to grab the same headlines as Big Tech lately, the companies that provide mobile and fixed-line internet access also have a responsibility to respect human rights, and all too often fall short of expectations.
The global telco sector is a diverse one, despite the dominance of multinational corporations with operating companies in multiple jurisdictions. Unlike platforms, which offer services in countries where they have no staff or physical assets, telcos have people and equipment on the ground everywhere they do business, which leaves them more vulnerable to government regulation and extralegal pressure. Some companies have taken RDR’s standards and related global norms to heart, and are making measurable progress in key areas of corporate governance and due diligence where human rights like free expression and privacy are concerned. Others are better known for failing to respect and promote their users’ rights. From inequitable access to network shutdowns, from zero-rating to surveillance advertising, and from government surveillance to pernicious lobbying, the Telco Giants have a lot to answer for.
Following the launch of the 2022 Telco Giants Scorecard on November 30, a panel of experts and advocates will join Ranking Digital Rights to delve into the Telco Giants’ human rights records, their relationships with governments and with “over-the-top” companies (including Big Tech), how their economic interests shape their policies and practices, and what global civil society is doing to hold them accountable.
Mark your calendars now, and join us on December 7 as we explore the past, present, and future of telco accountability.
Follow the conversation and provide live questions and commentary on Twitter with the hashtag #rankingrights and by following the Twitter handle @rankingrights.
Jessica Dheere, @jessdheere
Director, Ranking Digital Rights
Jason Pielemeier, @pielemeier
Executive Director, Global Network Initiative
Laura Okkonen, @laokkonen
Investor Advocate, Access Now
Thomas Lohninger, @socialhack
Executive Director, epicenter.works
Veszna Wessenauer, @wvessna
Program Manager, Ranking Digital Rights