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Ranking tech companies on privacy and free expression standards

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in the Hi good morning
everyone I think we're still fixing the powerpoint slide that will appear behind me at some point but in the meantime wanna thank you very much for coming out here is a 3rd a over the public on another a lot of very interesting things going on at same time so we appreciate your choice of coming here in talking to me about this subject of how to rank technology companies on human rights standards it let's see if we get the powerpoint working the the In the meantime of starboard that PowerPoint um we just heard the presentation about corporate surveillance and recent of digging deeper into how that works when companies collect information about users that local close enough that that's the fun things uh the so or corporations play an increasingly important role in our daily lives but 1st before going to that just what should use myself my name is all about and I work on this project ranking digital rights animals a visiting fellow with search just my floating here in Berlin so technology companies so in the slide that I created the companies were kind of dispersed all over the screen with more names are more letters so this lecture that you see here is not representative of what looking up at the Justice from pressures of the kind of companies that exist out there that influence our lives in some way right nowadays more and more we used some sort of corpus structure when the e-mail we have you know provided given is that provided we have a cell phone that was built by the manufacturer uh we use a social network and this just means that a lot of these communications that we using are controlled to a large degree by companies so while companies have this increasing role and have enabled so much of what we want to do today they are also making choices that actually have an impact on our rights to privacy rights to free expression which are both very important recognized international human rights so these companies make choices for example but when governments pressure on them and this happens more and more to hand over user data or when governance ask him to take a certain content it or for example when the set of facts policies what these policies consist of the collectors in making themselves and do they not what kind of security practice that haven't faced what kind of content in the middle of the not soldiers choices of companies make have an impact on the human rights this link between companies and human rights has gained more problems in the last few decades refers to neighbor rights or with regards to sustainability issues and the United Nations is formulated guiding principles for the last few years to sort of explain what government should do so that the businesses in the country to protect the rights of their citizens and what businesses should be doing and all such frameworks we have built our ranking of its
rights methodology we get to that in a 2nd the yeah the so while recognize the policies and practices of technology companies impact privacy if you expression there is about we often don't really know what this policy taxes are so we know that it's important that they do the right thing but you don't really know if they are doing the right thing and that's where we trying to come in with our ranking so ranking is right is not going to solve all the big problems of free expression and privacy for everyone in the world but we do things that we can make a step forward in that our ranking can help with that to that end we do to make things what is setting standards the the with our methodology with the indicators with the criteria that were using we are essentially the baht that companies should need in order to respect the rights of the users so we're very clearly explaining to companies what the best practices are but they should be doing it if the want respect the rights of the users the 2nd thing that we do is now that we set the standards in place and the standards they are built on widely respected human rights frameworks on this national human rights and guiding principles that image before a while they have the standards in place we are asking that we're researching what doing compared to standards so we're measuring accomplished performance on the specific standards now we are
not the 1st kind of ranking out there are all search rankings in the world for example even in this uh ecosystem of human rights and inspection rights and technology their country right Freedom House's doing Freedom on the Net report that looks at a lot of countries in the
world and says which 1 is more free unless free concerning Internet freedom uh the World Wide Web Foundation in something similar ClueWeb and that's looking at a few different kind of aspects and there also come here ranking said look at other issues for example to mention for labor standards sustainability access to medicine and such rankings exist but what we don't have and that is why we're talking here today what we don't have as the ranking that looks at a globally operating technology companies and how that protects and how they respect the rights to free expression privacy of the users on it's they but about the background
of how this project came about what we're trying to do so recognition rights is focusing the globally operating technology companies folks still to specific human rights that are most relevant for technology companies namely the rights to freedom of expression and the right to privacy the the project started in 2013 which means that we've been underway for almost two-and-a-half years ago to develop the rights of questions the
right criteria that we should be asking companies when we want to find out what the during introspective users right and the case study research with a couple of dozen researchers around the world we've had enough knowledge development of von revisions stratifying time we've had stakeholder consultations meaning talking to lumps of societal groups talking to companies talking to academics in learning what the best way is the most meaningful way to measure a company's performance we've also conducted a pilot study of tone you know bit more about that later In the last few months where we looked at limited set of companies and to see how does our methodology actually work in practice and what is important to us is to be transparent in our approach so all our website ranking so right support you can see all versions of an of a methodology you can find reports about how we came to the steps that we are now to the cells were we are now to sort of give insight into why this support of predicting now seems to be the best approach and of course they're very welcome and very open to a few but it may have in this regard the pilot that dimension when at 12 companies and since it was a very experimental pilot we not disclose company names it is on a public pilot what we do in we did release reports to give insight into what we found out so without company names you can see what company aid is company needed that etc. and what is very noticeable but if you look at all these countries it can reach a total score of 100 the best performing company on which a score of 65 and
I think the 2nd best which is formed 48 or something like that the this goes to show that even though there may be other reasons that companies not perform well there may be some regulatory environment so they have to deal with but all companies even the best performing ones have a long way to go to respect the rights of the users property are well-separated slides abroad has reported that applied so feel free to have a their to give you some insight into the kinds things that look at the criteria that were included in in a ranking I've listed some of those here just some of the topics that were
reviewing someone as human rights impact assessment the does the company do do do do diligence when they make the choices when they choose to go to new market which may have overturned regime operating um do they consider the impact of the products and Hannibal privacy often special of the users so that kind of impact assessment we look at how companies constructs and communicate to the users of terms of service and the privacy policies look at what paths to remedy companies offer because if you're prices being violated the contents being taken down and you don't feel happy about for the company have all that you want to be you want to find some way to complain or to ask for addresses to say what's going on in nature you made the right decision here and
quite often comedies don't have such remedies in place so that's something that we live in looking at the sort of traditional transparent reporting kind of things that disclosure about requests from Governments to handle user data do compass published and how do they publish that 1 d to the punishment were asking about what data they collect with whom they share at what kind security practices they have so it is a sort of things that we're trying to understand when we create a ranking of technology companies there are a a wide range of
stakeholders that we believe could use ranking at a single point because a lot of people from different singled which present some very happy to see you all here because I think that this ranking models to benefit you in 1 way or another 1st and foremost we hope that this ranking benefits companies countries ultimately are the end goal over rank we want them to improve their policies and practices by doing our ranking we're offering them into how they're fairing compared to the tears and how they're fairing on these standards that are based on recognizing of human rights provisions the and we are often very concrete and measurable steps to understand what they could be doing to do better so something well you dump on you grade for every company no me something that they will be able to learn I think this is something that I could do better and to do better I should do this so companies
are acoustical for us society anotherimportant cyclic group more and more civil society groups are doing campaigning on pricing free expression issues especially in relation to what companies are doing by offering them are data our research and all of this is available open source country produced but often than that in that data we hope that they will be able to do that and painting in a more effective way so if they want to advocacy on company policies that they have a better insight into what is common policies actually consists of investors another important group there are more more source responsible investors that the human rights issues into consideration when they make investment decisions and CEOs and boards tend to listen more to investors than to some other groups the talk to them so by offering them investors this all data we hope that will be able to inform their investment decisions obviously users are also important when you choose a product or service and by using this uh was followed news audience you want to know most of what you can expect from a company so for users making such a choice we want to inform them about how the company that they might start a content with that in mind service for that they might product from how they generally
protect respect the right of free expression and privacy the last we didn't point out as policy makers it when governance making laws they need to know that can what's actually happening what business practices are so we want to form their decision making as well it this year we're going to a 1st public so this year again this year will have a result that says this is the 1 this is number 2 the 2nd set up the our rankings could be based on publicly available information so
main that means what companies disclose or working closely with an investment research firm called sustain analytics which is very strange and do research into company policy and practice this year some 15 we're likely to rank 16 companies meaning 8 include companies and 8 telecommunication companies so for this 1st phase ranking where folks exclusively on those 2 groups of the ICT right so what is that and telecommunication companies will announce what companies they are 30 June when you start a research next year and this is
intended to be an annual ranking we hope to tag onto that another group of companies the ICT sector many advice manufactures equipment manufacturers software producers yeah just do some sort of insight into where we are and what we've been doing so far this year so it had stakeholder consultations based on our pilot uh results uh and the signal people stations have helped us a lot in making decisions about vaulting but indicators that we have in there so that is what the currently work on revising the methodology to be the most precise as possible was most meaningful as possible but also the best research more as we can were creating research guide sitting in the back end database that early June we're going to start our actual research on companies In July want to share our initial results with the companies and we've included In our ranking and purpose for that is if we somehow made a gross
error something that we missed the companies have a chance to inform us about that the sitemaps about to be finalizing our research results to analyze the data right of report etc. and November because the the big moment we're going to the launch of the 1st recognition rights ranking corporate accountability index so that is what I want to share with you today in a nutshell so thank you very much for listening and if you are interested in what you're doing if you wanna be kept updated the sign up on the website rank support we have in this uh but I do want to use this opportunity go before for any questions that you might have a low so if there are 4 things that you few well when you look at the company's life he was very important that you look at this the glass broad that you give more weight to this particular aspect of this for free to to speak of this would be the moment is that very much a few things have had that's hello thank you for that presentation this is very exciting
actually with we're doing with India's well within the independent technology on 1 question that I have and and quite possibly concerned that would be how are you approaching the ranking in terms of an but doesn't exist right now in terms of approaches to privacy so private by default solutions and do they feature in the ranking or is it looking at the current crop of corporations
and taking um centralized collection of data to be the starting point and is based on bad or you also considering possible future solutions where the companies don't gathered state or don't have access to it and does that influence to ranking because right love to see is if we have a future corporations or organizations that are based on solutions a private by default I would love to see those ranking at the highest positions on these verses like a company like google where it they start from collecting your data and then maybe implement protections that I'm not sure if I've enabled articulate that but that led to your thoughts the sentiments of select some question and the 1st of all we do want to be as future-proof as we can in order to be able to rank consistently across years so we want to be able to understand what companies are
currently doing but also in a way almost the courage better practice over the coming years and also be able to see how that compares over years but has to go to go to the substance of your question about different approaches to privacy trust is very important in this ranking methodology that we do not have only reward companies that are transparent about what they're doing much in as much as we can and that and to be frank that is quite a challenge to do that and methodology consistent way across the globe operating companies we are trying to reward behavior that we regard as as practice so we are trying to formulate indicators in a way that is not only due inform users about what date you collect with whom he shared how you collected white collected but we also trying to include evidence that this is well actually if your answer to this is this is relevant to us because reading of collecting data with that of sometimes for word so Uriah coming from your concern is is well appreciated and that that's the the what we are trying to trying to get at as in as much as you can uh and and something PC too far from the knowledge comes up and you for and highly thanks a lot and actually really
does look like exciting and
project and I have basically 2 questions and 1 of of the victims of terrorism that the flexibility of the ratings because as we know a lot of this kind in terms of this is that we at these companies use their dad in this weird nether are changing quite rapidly so in terms of how flexible with these the ad change according to these kind of contacts and will be be notified when these kind of changes l are gonna happen and the 2nd 1 is in terms of the 2 rights that you have presented to give a speech and privacy which are quite I think it's challenging because obviously did it these 2 rights are not obsolete in every place in the world so for example the European Union and the US are quite different in the way that they perceive these kind of right so was wondering how are you an approach that so sure and also requested so
just to start with the 1st on and my
memory structure might have to remind of the 2nd 1 later but the first one uh and so we are trying to make it possible to include changing practice as I just mentioned we want to be prove as we can and we try to be as consistent as possible over the years but we recognize that US company behavior does change and the things that we have right now you are very very important may not be as important in 3 years we may have a different concerns uh obviously nothing of this is set in stone the key things that we're trying to do is uh our findings all you find indicators that are as meaningful as possible in terms of companies respecting the rights of the users in terms of the and maybe expensive but some aspect of the questions asked about informing users of these changes that is actually an indicator that we have included in a methodology so far so we ask do companies disclose how they inform the users when the change in terms of service for the price of policy user given timeframe before they make that change such so you want to include that and then there's your 2nd question about differences of policy environments and how that affects Compton performances lose that capture what you're getting this is so
this this is um 1 of the most challenging issues that we've encountered meaning when we talk to companies and we say well we're doing this ranking and this is what looking at with some frequency companies say that is that is wonderful but obviously we're not the bad guys we're about but also about by government policies to dictate what we can do and what we cannot do so we recognize that such circumstances exist and we recognize that to some extent companies that operate in 1 environment for that reason might perform different incomes operate another environment so when this there is so keeping that in mind what we are trying to promote this for companies to be as transparent as possible in what they're actually doing the so even when companies are operating environment where they cannot do very much were they don't have as much the way to say no true government when the come requests for user data we do want them to be very clear about the policies that they have a place in responding to governments and that it is close
uh use if requested have coming in as much as they come ultimately we recognize that this is not going to even out the services for companies so we trying to promote transparency as much as you can and aside from that in our narrative reporting when we explain our ranking results to wider audience we will have to include some from narrative that says the company in this country could have performed better if it was not held back by the legal environment in which it operates now if they actually perform better or not that is hard to predict because you can't really just intent but the legal environment here is holding them back so why that indirectly roles also to encourage policy change policy advocacy to the government but accompanied by others this is why actually all rights to be better respected by the company if you're laws would change luckily I work that we're doing it and high my classes and high odds of making the odds of planning to
make a ranking of governments and the governments
of different European countries governments of some of the more because the policy of the government is different and and as you just said it has it has a huge influence on companies distance
absolutely right they have a very big inference and companies uh but there are other
rankings that's already do that so Freedom houses like called Freedom on the Net world-wide-web phonations ranking called and Web index uh reports that borders is do also uh review that looks sort of free expression provisions and also space to some extent a lot of countries around the world so that that is not something that we will be focusing on we only focusing on the corporate side so the company behavior In regressions
the all of them map as this said that and did you explain all been into the whole to finance the whole project you have not precedent not explained so that further questions as we are funded by different formations so uh
all our funders are listed on the website so few free cuticular condensins were also transparent uh do not the uh corporate money so uh obviously the independence of our ranking is critical for its success and for its ability to fight and so so far we've been lucky to be financed by different sets of most United States this uh foundations also some European explanations that have helped us to get so we get where we are right now and to help us start with the ranking that we are doing for this year obviously as many such projects we are also looking for a future funding so anyone who has a upon bank somewhere in their pocket step up from come talk to me after the after presentation but that is that is how we are
approaching from last class has a whole the elements that something similar
actually as a 2nd question but with our singer trends uh with the sort of initiatives where like Adblock Plus for example starts self as an independent project walking all ads and then once it again legitimacy that Google and Facebook and by accessing can in circumstances right do you have a commitment to staying independent once you have the legitimacy you need and so will that is there is the commitment that you would you have made a will make it to say we will not take corporate finance that at some point once we have legitimacy but that we won't
accept that at that point also uh and but as I think that comment that we've made is that we will not take money from corporations that we would include in a ranking so far we don't take any sort of money in the I don't foresee that changing anywhere in the in the near future but in any case obviously in order from our ranking to make any sense to retain legitimacy and for that for that we've been talking to people all the time and still many groups in order for us to make maintain evidence here we will not be able to take any such corpus 1 thank you had from much
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Metadaten

Formale Metadaten

Titel Ranking tech companies on privacy and free expression standards
Serientitel re:publica 2015
Teil 165
Anzahl der Teile 177
Autor Bar, Allon
Lizenz CC-Namensnennung - Weitergabe unter gleichen Bedingungen 3.0 Deutschland:
Sie dürfen das Werk bzw. den Inhalt zu jedem legalen Zweck nutzen, verändern und in unveränderter oder veränderter Form vervielfältigen, verbreiten und öffentlich zugänglich machen, sofern Sie den Namen des Autors/Rechteinhabers in der von ihm festgelegten Weise nennen und das Werk bzw. diesen Inhalt auch in veränderter Form nur unter den Bedingungen dieser Lizenz weitergeben.
DOI 10.5446/31853
Herausgeber re:publica
Erscheinungsjahr 2015
Sprache Englisch
Produktionsort Berlin

Inhaltliche Metadaten

Fachgebiet Informatik
Abstract This session will introduce the start-up Ranking Digital Rights project to the audience of Re:publica. In this ranking, the world’s web and telecommunication companies are measured on how they protect the rights to freedom of expression and privacy of their users. RDR finished two years of research and development, and will conduct its first public ranking this year. We will invite the audience to weigh in on what’s most important to them in protecting their free expression and privacy rights.

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