Human rights and the ICT Sector: a thought leadership agenda for Action

GeSI thought leadership programme and action plan on human rights issues in the ICT sector.

This paper reports on the process and outcomes of the work of GeSI in early 2014 to produce a thought leadership programme and action plan to provide leadership in addressing human rights issues in the ICT sector. With the support of management consultants twentyfifty ltd., its preparation involved interviews with GeSI members and expert stakeholders, gathering stakeholder input at ICT industry events including the Tallinn Freedom-on-line Conference and the Stockholm Internet Forum, on-going discussions with GeSI’s human rights working group, and finally, a workshop in Helsinki in June 2014. This paper sets out the context, approach and key focus areas identified, together with next steps. Next steps include formulating specific projects and partnerships in each key focus, and the establishment of stakeholder advisory bodies to provide on-going stakeholder input to GeSI’s work and help to ensure that the action plan and projects remain pertinent and credible. The key focus areas for the thought leadership program were identified as: 

  • Identifying the saliency of human rights impacts in the ICT sector
  • Applying a human rights lens to emerging technologies and their application
  • The future of responsible sourcing in the ICT sector
  • Building management capacity to operate responsibly in emerging markets 

Other areas where opportunities were identified for GeSI to take action were interacting with the Ranking Digital Rights Initiative and its potential to drive positive change, and the need for good practice guidance for host governments on policies related to data protection.

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