My reflections as Chair of the Industry Dialogue
We are proud of our progress, but more needs to be done.
by Christine Diamente, Chair of the Industry Dialogue (Alcatel-Lucent)
On a very sunny April 13th 2015 in Paris, Alcatel-Lucent had the immense pleasure of hosting the Telecommunications Industry Dialogue’s (Telecoms ID) quarterly meeting. Telecoms ID is a group of nine operators and vendors who jointly address freedom of expression and privacy rights in the telecommunications sector in the context of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.
It was quite a historical moment for our company, and not without its own challenges. I was honoured the eight other members of the Telecoms ID confirmed my nomination as Chair for the coming six months until October 2015.
As incoming Chair, I have three priorities I will drive with my fellow colleagues:
- raise visibility of the Telecoms ID as a unique sector model to exchange best practices and transparency on human rights.
- raise the vendor voice on responsible innovation issues relating to freedom of expression and privacy
- pursue our ICT sector collaboration with the Global Network Initiative (GNI).
At our meeting in Paris, we were able to advance each of these items as a group and, most importantly, with our peers and key stakeholders. Firstly, ID companies engaged in an interactive roundtable discussion with over 20 stakeholders from the investor community, other telecommunications companies, intergovernmental organizations, and organizations with expertise in business and human rights. We shared individual company and sector progress on the implementation of our Guiding Principles since their launch in March 2013 through an open Q&A session. We were delighted with the positive response and engaging dialogue and thank participants for their commitment to this successful session.
Secondly, with our members and invited telecom guests, Alcatel-Lucent and Nokia –as the two vendor members of the Telecoms ID– teamed together to do a learning session with experts on privacy issues to responsible innovation, while operators shared their approach and learning on transparency reporting. These shared learning sessions have been the most valuable part of our collaboration thus far, and they have built trust among what otherwise might be merely a group of competitors.
Finally, we met with the GNI as part of our ongoing efforts to pursue a shared and practical approach to advancing freedom of expression and privacy rights for the ICT sector. I am very thankful for the personal participation of GNI board members and their own commitment to working together as a cohesive ICT sector dialogue.
This week, we are pleased to share more details about the progress we have made in implementing the ID Guiding Principles with the publication of our 2015 Annual Report, The Telecommunications Industry Dialogue at Two Years.
The numbers speak for themselves: 9 companies have shared transparency measures on ID Guiding Principles implementation, we’ve held 9 stakeholder dialogue sessions in 2014, 2 joint Learning Forums with GNI took place exploring Transparency and Human Rights in the Digital Age, and 44 country legal reports governing freedom of expression and privacy were published by participating companies, with 5 more countries to be published on our website in the coming months.
Open dialogue and best practice sharing has been the success of the Telecoms Industry Dialogue so far. We are proud of our progress, but more needs to be done. So we look forward to feedback from all stakeholders on this report and our activities.
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