Parallel Session 12: Towards Global Norms and Mechanisms for Good Platform Practice

30 Nov 2018
09:00 - 10:15

Parallel Session 12: Towards Global Norms and Mechanisms for Good Platform Practice

With a global resource like the Internet, holding companies accountable for how they treat, protect and respect the human rights of users in diverse jurisdictions is rather difficult. This workshop discusses two efforts to develop standards, benchmarks and incentives for global platforms to respect human rights everywhere they operate, highlighting how stakeholders and experts can address gaps in the promotion and protection of human rights in a range of areas, from workers’ freedom of association to Internet users’ freedom of expression and privacy.  

The first example is the Ranking Digital Rights project whose Corporate Accountability Index benchmarks the world’s most powerful Internet, mobile, and telecommunications companies on disclosed commitments and policies affecting users’ freedom of expression and privacy. The indicators used to evaluate companies build on international human rights norms, the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, and the inputs of many stakeholders regarding human rights risks and harms, best practices and transparency standards related to corporate practices affecting expression and privacy.  

The second example will focus on freedom of association and other related rights. The FairWork Foundation will share a draft set of principles and criteria for fair platform work, along with the possibility of offering a kitemark or certification mechanism to platforms which achieve minimum work standards in developed and developing countries alike. More than seven million ‘platform workers’ around the world perform work outsourced via platforms or apps in the so-called ‘gig economy’ today. Lacking the opportunity to collectively bargain, platform workers have little ability to negotiate wages and working conditions with their employers.  

The proposed workshop will bring together diverse stakeholders to discuss practical measures to protect human rights online, and how efforts like Ranking Digital Rights and the FairWork Foundation also highlight gaps and areas for improvement or innovation in government policy and regulation. The speakers will explore how global benchmarks and certification mechanisms and frameworks can become an important and permanent element of global governance infrastructure in a digitally networked world.