The technology sector has a vital role to play in realizing human rights and in achieving the vision laid out in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development; including by facilitating mobile banking, access to healthcare and remote learning and enabling greater citizen participation, freedom of expression, and coordination of democratic movements through social media platforms.
Yet, technology companies can cause, contribute to or be directly linked to adverse impacts on workers, users, customers, or other individuals through business activities and business relationships. Technology and human rights issues include privacy, censorship and freedom of expression (collectively, digital rights risks), discrimination, security and conflict, child safety online, and a range of supply chain impacts, including gig workers.
Technology companies have been called out for their role and responsibility in the proliferation of misinformation and viral hate speech, increased levels of illegal surveillance, attacks on democracy, the censorship of dissident voices, and discrimination against marginalized communities, including racial and gender discrimination. Tech companies’ business models built on target advertising and the lack of accountability for their development and use of artificial intelligence including inherently-biased algorithms are at the core of these harms.
Our corporate engagements encourage and facilitate technology companies – social media platforms, telecos, etc to adopt and implement human rights due diligence policies and processes that respect human rights, including mechanisms that enable remedies for victims of abuses.
We also engage governments and other standard-setting bodies to advocate for regular measures and incentives to create enabling environments for responsible business conduct not just within the technology sector but also in the deployment and use of technology in other sectors, like healthcare, food and beverage, automotive, etc.
The Investor Alliance has published a series of salient issuebriefings laying out the multiple risks inherent in the technology sector with investor guidance to help mitigate those risks. You can read those briefings here.
Digital Rights and AI Accountability Staff Contacts
To learn more about our program, reach out to our staff: