Ranking Digital Rights

About the Project

Ranking Digital Rights (RDR) is a non-profit research initiative housed at New America’s Open Technology Institute, working with an international network of partners to set global standards for how companies in the information and communications technology (ICT) sector should respect freedom of expression and privacy.

In November 2015, RDR launched its inaugural Corporate Accountability Index, evaluating 16 Internet and telecommunications companies according to 31 indicators focused on corporate disclosure of policies and practices that affect users’ freedom of expression and privacy.

In March 2017, Ranking Digital Rights released the second edition of its Corporate Accountability Index, which ranked 22 companies according to an expanded list of 35 indicators.

The 2018 Index applies the same 35 indicators and methodology to the same 22 companies evaluated in 2017.

Companies’ scores and accompanying analysis were generated through a rigorous process including peer review, company feedback, and quality control.

The data produced by the Index is intended to inform the work of human rights advocates, policymakers, and responsible investors. It can also help companies improve their own policies and practices.

Why is such an Index necessary? Because internet, mobile, and telecommunications companies exert growing influence over the political and civil lives of people all over the world. These companies share a responsibility to respect human rights.

Investors, universities, NGOs and international organizations already measure companies on other human rights, social responsibility and sustainability criteria. These include conflict minerals, carbon emissions, and political spending. Many ranking systems have had significant impact on corporate conduct. We believe that a global ranking for ICT companies on digital free expression and privacy criteria is a powerful tool for investors, consumers, policymakers, and companies themselves to identify best practices. The Index also helps to identify obstacles companies face in meeting their corporate obligations to respect human rights in the very digital spheres they helped to create and continue to shape.

Learn more at rankingdigitalrights.org and read the 2017 Corporate Accountability Index.