234 Ford House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515-6460
Hon. Christopher H. Smith, Chairman
Hon. Benjamin L. Cardin, Co-Chairman
Media Contact: Shelly Han
October 19, 2012


WASHINGTON–The Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (U.S. Helsinki Commission) announced the following briefing:

Online Safety under Repressive Regimes: What is the Responsibility of Technology Companies?
Friday, October 19, 2012
10:00 am
Room 2203 Rayburn House Office Building

U.S. technology companies are increasingly aware of the risks of working in repressive countries where the internet has become a tool of censorship and surveillance. How these companies respond to these risks has life and death consequences for the activists who use these important communication tools. The Global Online Freedom Act (GOFA, H.R. 3605), introduced by Chairman Chris Smith (NJ-04), requires technology companies that are listed on U.S. stock exchanges to disclose their human rights due diligence policies. The measure is designed to provide users with information on how companies work with repressive governments so that they can safeguard their information and communications. The panel will address the current practices of tech companies, the role of the Global Network Initiative (GNI) in fostering greater transparency, as well as what additional actions companies should be taking to safeguard their users.

The following panelists are scheduled to participate:

Amol Mehra, Coordinator, International Corporate Accountability Roundtable
Susan Morgan, Executive Director, Global Network Initiative
Meg Roggensack, Senior Advisor, Human Rights First


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Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic (C), who serves as Chairman-in-Office of the OSCE in 2015, meeting with House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (L) and Helsinki Commission Chairman Chris Smith (R) immediately after the February 25 hearing on Serbia's leadership of the OSCE. (Feb. 2015)