14:15 - 14:45
RDR 2017 Findings: Internet and Telco companies’ respect for Privacy and Freedom of Expression


Ranking Digital Rights (RDR) recently launched its second annual Corporate Accountability Index in March 2017, which evaluates 22 internet, mobile, and telecommunications companies on commitments, policies and practices affecting users’ freedom of expression and privacy. We will take this opportunity to present the findings to the Re:publica community and discuss actions that companies, activists, researchers, investors, and end-users can take for improvement.


Ranking Digital Rights evaluates internet, mobile, and telecommunications’ companies commitments, policies, and practices affecting users’ freedom of expression and privacy.  This work has served as a roadmap for corporations to follow to improve disclosure and practices, and has proven useful for researchers, responsible investors, and civil society groups to take further in their own contexts.  The 2017 Corporate Accountability Index was released March 23, 2017.

This year, we looked at some of the world’s largest tech companies: 12 Internet companies and 10 telecommunications headquartered and with operations around the world. Jointly these companies serve billions of customers, and have great impact on the human rights of their users. 

We also added some new dimensions to the research: The 2017 Index includes a new area of evaluation, covering “mobile ecosystems,” including Google’s Android, Apple iOS, and Samsung’s implementation of Android.  We’ve also added new companies  headquartered in countries such as Russia and China, to further identify jurisdictional influence on company disclosure.  Additionally, our updated methodology includes indicators that further examine network shutdowns, encryption practices, and the influence of good security practices on privacy.

In this talk, we will present key findings and highlights of the 2017 Index, as well as the lessons learned in adding new dimensions to the methodology.  It will also provide an opportunity for re:publica attendees to have a conversation with the RDR team people who produced the Index.