In September, the Center was accepted as the first business school member of the Global Network Initiative (GNI), the leading international initiative on business and human rights in the information communications technology (ICT) sector.
The GNI brings together companies, civil society organizations, investors and academics to work to advance privacy and free expression. Companies in the GNI – including Microsoft, Yahoo!, Google, Facebook, and LinkedIn – commit to principles and practices to advance user rights, and agree to assessments of their performance. The GNI provides the forum tech companies need to discuss human rights issues, explore pragmatic approaches, and learn from experts, advocates, and other companies.
The GNI was formed in 2008 in response to challenges around ICT companies’ involvement in censorship and surveillance activities outside the United States. The GNI provided a way for companies and other stakeholders to come together to set standards for ICT companies on free expression and privacy. Since then, threats to the open Internet have only intensified globally. More than ever before, the GNI fills a critical need as ICT companies navigate how to protect user rights in tough markets.
The Center considers multi-stakeholder initiatives (MSIs) like the GNI to be an important mechanism to advance industry-wide human rights standards and guide company behavior. Sarah Labowitz and Michael Posner were involved in the GNI’s formation and have worked on numerous MSIs to advance human rights in global business operations. Earlier this year, NYU joined the Fair Labor Association (FLA), which seeks to advance human rights in the manufacturing supply chain.
Katharine Kendrick is a Policy Associate. She focuses on tech issues.