Technology is a powerful tool for human rights. Through its reach and influence in all parts of the planet come opportunities for better lives. But information and communications technology (ICT) companies can also be involved in major human rights abuses: either by committing them directly, or by facilitating abuses by governments and other firms. With the ever-increasing scrutiny of companies’ conduct – much of this enabled by the internet itself – and the growing availability of practical guidance on how to do the right thing, there is little excuse for inaction.
The Business & Human Rights Resource Centre has been tracking the human rights conduct of companies globally since 2003, including firms in the ICT sector. We highlight positive steps, such as initiatives by mobile phone companies to connect aid with victims in humanitarian disasters, and joint efforts by industry and others to protect freedom of ____EXPRESSION____ and privacy. We also draw attention to allegations of misconduct, for example when companies supply governments with products to monitor human rights activists and disrupt their communications; or when pressures over price mean workers in technology supply chains work excessive hours, in harmful conditions, for very low pay.