Global Network Initiative

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Global Network Initiative
TypeNon-governmental organization
Purposepreventing Internet censorship by authoritarian governments and protecting the Internet privacy rights of individuals
HeadquartersWashington, D.C., United States
LeaderMark Stephens
Key people
Revenue (2015)
Expenses (2015)$634,306[1]

The Global Network Initiative (GNI) is a non-governmental organization with the dual goals of preventing Internet censorship by authoritarian governments and protecting the Internet privacy rights of individuals. It is sponsored by a coalition of multinational corporations, non-profit organizations, and universities.


On October 29, 2008, the Global Network Initiative (GNI) was founded upon its "Principles of Freedom of Expression and Privacy".[This quote needs a citation] The Initiative was launched in the 60th anniversary year of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), and is based on internationally recognized laws and standards for human rights on freedom of expression and privacy set out in the UDHR, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR).[2]


As a human rights organization, GNI seeks to safeguard freedom of expression and personal privacy against government restrictions. The protections are facilitated by a coalition of companies, investors, civil society organizations, academics, and other stakeholders.

GNI esteems freedom of expression and privacy each as a "human right and guarantor of human dignity".[3] Participants are expected to respect and protect information available to users and users' ability to freely create and distribute information, provided that they operate outside narrowly defined circumstances necessary to adhere to international laws and standards set by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

Participants are also expected to protect users' personal information from illegal or arbitrary interference when confronted with government demands, laws, or regulations that compromise a user's privacy. The same principle of adherence of international laws and standards applies.

Collaboration among stakeholders is key to the goals of the Global Network Initiative. The GNI's outline of principles encourages participants to explore ways to engage governments advance their cause, individually or collectively.[4]

GNI recognizes that the actions of their corporate participants alone cannot guarantee the protection of human rights. One fundamental commitment is to promote the adoption of laws, policies, and practices that protect freedom of expression and privacy. GNI considers governments to be ultimately responsible for the fulfillment of their citizens' human rights, specifically pursuant to freedom of expression and privacy.[5]

Staff and Board of Directors[6][edit]

ICT Companies: Miranda Sissons, Facebook Lewis Segall, Google Steve Crown, Microsoft/LinkedIn Fiona Cura-Pitre, Nokia Yves Nissim, Orange Anita Househam, Telenor Group Patrik Hiselius, Telia Company Nicole Karlebach, Verizon Media Laura Okkonen, Vodafone Group

Civil Society Organizations: Greg Nojeim, Center for Democracy & Technology Robert Mahoney, Committee to Protect Journalists Charles Bradley, Global Partners Digital Julie Owono, Internet sans Frontières Kat Duffy, Internews

Academics and Academic Organizations: Jessica Fjeld, Berkman Klein Center Meg Roggensack, Georgetown University (Independent) K.S. Park, Korea University Law School (Independent)

Investors" Adam Kanzer, BNP Paribas Asset Management Bennett Freeman, EIRIS Conflict Risk Network

The Following members serve as Alternate Board Members: ICT Company Alternates: Moira Oliver, BT Group Théo Jaekel, Ericsson Alex Warofka, Facebook Alexandria Walden, Google Bernard Shen, Microsoft/LinkedIn Silvia Garrigo, Millicom Christoph Steck, Telefónica Dorothee D’Herde, Vodafone Group

Civil Society Organization Alternates: Emma Llansó, Center for Democracy & Technology Elonnai Hickok, Centre for Internet and Society Usama Khilji, Bolo Bhi Arvind Ganesan, Human Rights Watch Andreas Reventlow, International Media Support

Academic Alternates: Chinmayi Arun, (Independent) Agustina Del Campo, Centro de Estudios en Libertad de Expresión Molly Land, UConn Human Rights Institute

Investor Alternate: Lauren Compere, Boston Common Asset Management


The Global Network Initiative requires participating companies to integrate their principles deeply into their decision-making and culture.[7] GNI's founding companies include Google, Yahoo (now Oath Inc.), and Microsoft. Facebook joined GNI in 2013.[8] In 2017, seven telecommunications operator and vendor companies joined GNI.[9]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Global Network Initiative Inc" (PDF). Foundation Center. Retrieved 23 January 2018.
  2. ^ "Global Network Initiative, FAQ". Archived from the original on March 9, 2009. Retrieved March 6, 2009.
  3. ^ "Global Network Initiative - Principles". Archived from the original on 10 April 2011. Retrieved 26 April 2011.
  4. ^ "Principles: Multi-stakeholder collaboration". Archived from the original on 10 April 2011. Retrieved 26 April 2011.
  5. ^ "FAQ: How will the Global Network Initiative accomplish its goals?". Archived from the original on 9 March 2009. Retrieved 26 April 2011.
  6. ^ "Global Network Initiative - Board of Directors". Retrieved 22 August 2017.
  7. ^ "Principles: Responsible Company Decision Making". Archived from the original on 10 April 2011. Retrieved 26 April 2011.
  8. ^ "Facebook Joins the Global Network Initiative". Retrieved 22 August 2017.
  9. ^ "Global Network Initiative Adds Seven Companies in Milestone Expansion of Freedom of Expression and Privacy Initiative". Retrieved 22 August 2017.

External links[edit]