Ranking tech companies part 2: software, devices and networking equipment

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Session Description

In November 2015 Ranking Digital Rights released its first Corporate Accountability Index. It focused on 16 of the world’s largest Internet and telecommunication companies. In future iterations, Ranking Digital Rights examines adding other kinds of companies in the ranking, notably software producers and device and network equipment manufacturers. This will enable the inclusion of other key players in the ICT ecosystem. Ranking such companies inevitably will come with other challenges such as comparability across a diverse kind of product range, complexities of dissecting their disclosure, and dealing with the generally more limited public disclosure by companies offering such products. At the same time, it is clear that end-users of these products may be adversely impacted by products’ configurations and the companies’ operational decisions. Devices and software may have access to location data or biometrical information about their users, they may restrict certain types of web visits, encrypt device storage, etc. All such decisions impact users’ rights to freedom of expression and privacy. That makes it especially important to devise an approach to benchmark software producers and device and network equipment manufacturers. In this session we want to discuss with privacy and freedom of expression experts, technical specialists, and other participants how to best incorporate such companies in the already existing RDR methodology:

- what specific products should be included?

- what indicators of the 2015 Corporate Accountability Index can be used directly for these other types of companies?

- what indicators should be adapted?

- what indicators should be added? This session is to be meant very practical and focused on making sure that privacy and free expression issues of concern to attendees can be incorporated in the ranking of technology companies.

Ranking tech companies part 2: software, devices and networking equipment
Presenter/s Allon Bar and Nathalie Marechal
Bio/s Allon Bar is the human rights specialist and research coordinator with the Ranking Digital Rights project and a visiting fellow with Stiftung Neue Verantwortung.

Nathalie Marechal is a PhD student in Communication at the University of Southern California and affiliated researcher with Ranking Digital Rights, where she was the 2014 COMPASS Fellow.

Language English

Session Comments