Today Access Now sent an open letter to top executives at Microsoft, Facebook, Google, Cisco, and other major technology companies who are expected to meet with U.S. President-elect Donald Trump on December 14, 2016. The letter asks these companies to advocate for specific policy positions regarding encryption, surveillance, Net Neutrality, internet shutdowns, vulnerability disclosure, government hacking, and the larger internet freedom agenda.
In the letter, Access Now reminds the tech executives of their companies’ commitment to human rights and asks them to remember their responsibility to users at the meeting and in future engagements with the White House.
Excerpts from the letter:
“Respect for human rights of users … is key to a free and open internet. It is up to not only governments, but also companies, to ensure that the human rights of users remain central to the development and growth of the internet.”
“Your corporate declarations on human rights will be tested in 2017 and beyond, and it’s a test that you must pass. … It is imperative that you commit to make the most of your position by unequivocally promoting the realization of human rights, online and offline, and committing to protecting users and their data from enemies foreign or domestic.”
The letter asks tech CEOs to make seven specific requests to President-elect Trump:
- Encryption and Government Hacking — Please advocate that President-elect Trump work with civil society and law enforcement to help address the issues faced by law enforcement in the digital era without weakening encryption and without compelled assistance from providers. This could be supported by rules that make clear the rights and responsibilities of law enforcement when engaged in government hacking.
- Network Neutrality — Please advocate that President-elect Trump not undermine the core internet function by undoing or subverting Net Neutrality rules and to engage all stakeholders before making critical decisions about the future of the internet.
- Internet Shutdowns — Please advocate that President-elect Trump denounce internet shutdowns and hold other governments to account by directing development aid and connectivity programs to countries that keep the internet on.
- Vulnerability Disclosures — Please advocate for President-elect Trump to support a law to limit how long the government holds [vulnerabilities] that includes a process for responsibly informing companies and the public when vulnerabilities are discovered or purchased.
- Surveillance Reform — Please advocate for President-elect Trump to support the protection of human rights of all people in surveillance programs and practices.
- Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) — Please advocate for President-elect Trump to not pressure companies to remove or police content outside lawful processes and to ensure government CVE programs comply with human rights standards.
- Connectivity and Internet Freedom — Please advocate for President-elect Trump to support rights-respectful connectivity programs and a genuine internet freedom agenda that includes a multi-stakeholder approach to protect freedom of expression, privacy, and the right to association online.