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Vodafone in Egypt: How tech companies can uphold, not violate, human rights

In carrying out the policies of repressive regimes, multinational telecommunications companies can violate international standards for human rights. Joining a global network committed to ethical uses of technology would help these corporations uphold, rather than undermine, those rights.

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In recent years, we have put corporations under greater scrutiny. We don’t buy shoes if they were made in Asian sweatshops. We boycott companies whose practices contribute to the destruction of the rainforest. Consumers expect to be satisfied with the service, but they also want to be reassured that the company providing the service has not harmed others. We should expect the same high standards from technology companies.

Uprisings throughout the Arab world, especially in Egypt, have brought to light the role that multinational telecommunications companies play in the hands of repressive regimes. Western technology giants are increasingly finding themselves in the uncomfortable position of having to comply with local laws that might not correspond with international rights norms. But in a wired world, Internet access is increasingly seen as a fundamental human right – and the gatekeepers of those rights are not just governments, but corporations.

IN PICTURES: Top 10 countries that say Internet access is a basic right

Vodafone's role in Egypt

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