HRIC has resigned from the Global Network Initiative (GNI), the multi-stakeholder group founded in 2008 to advance freedom of expression and privacy in the information and communications technology (ICT) sector.
As a founding member and former board member of the GNI, HRIC has actively contributed to the GNI’s efforts in developing robust principles based on international human rights standards, and a framework for ensuring accountability for those principles. In a climate of increasing government surveillance and intrusion into personal privacy, HRIC believes that meaningful compliance with these principles and rigorous implementation of the accountability framework are more critical than ever. China, because of its enormous market and political and economic clout, poses particularly steep challenges for companies and other stakeholders, including the risks of self-censorship. HRIC remains committed to the value and role of multi-stakeholder processes and the principles on which the GNI was founded, but at this time we will devote our resources and energy to other means of addressing these challenges.
Over the past eight years, the GNI has made valuable contributions to promoting rights in the ICT sector in general, particularly through its work on policy advocacy, privacy, and surveillance, and pressing for greater transparency from governments. We welcome future opportunities to continue working with stakeholders in diverse platforms to effectively address the complex and intensifying rule of law and human rights challenges posed by China’s policies and actions, in particular for the ICT sector.