The Global Network Initiative (GNI) last Thursday announced Facebook as the first company to gain observer status. GNI is a coalition of ICT companies, civil society organizations, investors and academics, committed to advancing user rights to freedom of expression and privacy.
GNI developed as a response to the increasing, government pressure on ICT companies to abide to policies that risk violating rights to privacy and free expression online. As an observer, Facebook has the opportunity to learn more about GNI and its participant without the commitment requirements of full membership. Like members, Facebook will participate in policy and learning sessions that engage GNI participants and staff, but have not committed to GNI Principles and Implementation Guidelines or to participate in the independent assessment process.
GNI observer status is a non-renewable twelve-month term that provides GNI and observers to engage in important dialogue. It is an opportunity for GNI to learn and listen to the ICT industry, helping develop the Initiative to be more effective in addressing industry concerns and brings in tech firms dabbling in membership. Observer status is designed as a path to full membership, a lower level of commitment to ease concerns on both sides.
Bringing together a wide-range of stakeholders to work towards aligning the ICT industry to fundamental rights of expression and privacy is an essential theme that will be explored at Rights Con: Rio.
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