Access Now


Tech in conflict: a guide to responsible business conduct

When the Myanmar military perpetrated a coup d'état in 2021, telecom companies pulled out, often selling off local operations to military-linked service providers. Today, the junta is leveraging its total control of communications networks to target journalists and critics of its bloody regime — a tragic, wholly foreseeable outcome. Our newly published guide is designed to help ICT companies that are entering or already operating in regions in conflict make decisions that align with their international human rights obligations. Read more via Access Now

Big Tech's trust issues

Why shareholders don’t trust Big Tech — and how to fix that

If Big Tech's frantic AI race makes you deeply uncomfortable, you're not alone. The good news: investors at Amazon, Alphabet, and Meta are pushing company leadership to show how they plan to mitigate risks and keep people safe. Access Now's Laura Okkonen looks at the 2023 shareholder proposals with the potential to transform the tech sector for the better. Read more via Access Now

Attention, Amazon: your shareholders want you to protect human rights

It's not just AI we should be worried about. The Israeli government is using Amazon Web Services as infrastructure for the apartheid system under which Palestinians are surveilled, unlawfully detained, and tortured. And that's just one of the ways governments can abuse the platform to oppress people and undermine human rights. Learn about two Amazon shareholder proposals aimed at ensuring the company increases transparency and conducts proper human rights due diligence. Read more via Access Now

LGBTQ+ rights are human rights

Standing with LGBTQ+ people in Africa

In a number of African countries, LGBTQ+ people are facing increasing threats to their fundamental human rights, including through dangerous anti-LGBTQ+ legislation. This week, we marked International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia with a message of solidarity for those opposing Uganda's Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2023, one of the harshest in the world. It's everyone's responsibility to protect LGBTQ+ rights, and we are stronger when we stand together. Remember: if you're part of an organization fighting for LGBTQ+ rights and need assistance with increasing your digital safety, our Digital Security Helpline is a resource for you. Read more via Access Now

All eyes on Turkey

Will Turkey #KeepItOn during round two?

Turkey's Erdoğan government has a history of silencing dissent and censoring critics online, and the lead-up to Turkey's presidential elections this past Sunday was no exception to rule. As voters prepare for the runoff elections on May 28, Access Now and our #KeepItOn coalition partners are closely monitoring internet access to ensure authorities do not use internet shutdowns as a tool for election interference. Join us to demand Turkey #KeepItOn throughout the election period and beyond. Read more via Access Now

Elon Musk didn’t just do Turkey’s bidding. Censoring for strongmen is now a pattern

On the eve of the Turkey elections on Sunday, Twitter restricted access to accounts belonging to government critics. The platform has previously bowed to over-reaching censorship demands from India's Modi government, blocking content not only in India, but globally. Slate looks at what Twitter CEO Elon Musk's dangerously myopic interpretation of "free speech" could mean for democracies in crisis around the world. Read more via Slate

Pakistan's costly mistake

Amid chaos, Pakistan shut down the internet to little effect

After the arrest of former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, authorities cut mobile internet access and blocked communications platforms in an attempt to stop widespread protests. Not only did the shutdown fail to stop the protests, it cut off nearly 125 million people — endangering people, disrupting businesses, and adding "further social unrest and economic deprivation" to an already precarious situation, says Access Now's Raman Jit Singh Chima. While internet access has since been restored, a number of online platforms remain blocked as the political crisis escalates. We continue to call on authorities to lift all internet restrictions. Read more via Coda Story

Now for the good news

Iraq’s communication ministry refuses to enforce internet blackout for final exams

Iraq is among several countries in the Middle East and North Africa that routinely cut internet access to stop students from cheating on exams — a rights-harming, ineffective, and inherently disproportionate practice. Now, after more than a decade of annual blackouts, the Iraqi Ministry of Communications has decided to cease imposing them. "This is progress," tweeted Doug Madory, Director of Internet Analysis at Kentik. Indeed — and we're eager to see others follow the ministry's example. To learn more about exam shutdowns, check out our #NoExamShutdown campaign, in Arabic or English. Read more via Kurdistan24

Opportunities and other highlights

We're hiring a Communities Communications Coordinator!

Our Digital Security Helpline offers direct, 24/7 digital safety assistance and advice to civil society groups and activists, media organizations, journalists and bloggers, and human rights defenders around the world. We're looking for someone who can help manage and align our communications efforts with the people and communities we serve. If you're a skilled communicator who is familiar with digital security concepts, check out the details and apply! Read more via Access Now

Join us at RightsCon (June 5-8)

Last chance to register at RightsCon at the lowest available prices!

If you're joining us for RightsCon, we've got good news: if you register today, May 19, you can still get a ticket at the lowest price. Register now and you'll get access to the full program schedule when the RightsCon Summit Platform opens this Monday, May 22. And remember: our official policy is that the price of a ticket should never prohibit participation. Any participant is welcome to register for a free online ticket or request a free or discounted in-person ticket.

Get your ticket to RightsCon Costa Rica (Jun 5-8 2023)