Palantir Technologies Contracts Raise Human Rights Concerns

In advance of the direct listing of Palantir Technologies, Inc. on the New York Stock Exchange on September 29, Amnesty International released today a new briefing, Failing to Do Right: The Urgent Need for Palantir to Respect Human Rights, where the organization concludes that Palantir is failing to conduct human rights due diligence around its contracts with ICE, and that there is a high risk that Palantir is contributing to human rights violations of asylum-seekers and migrants through the ways the company’s technology facilitates ICE operations.

— source | Sep 28, 2020

Nullius in verba


Rape in the aid sector

The most common type of sexual misconduct by humanitarian staff is transactional sex.

It is generally not criminal and involves some level of negotiation and agency on the part of victims. And, in part, that’s what makes it so difficult to stamp out.

It’s sometimes called “survival sex” – but in the context of extreme deprivation, desperation, and insecurity, what choices do the survivors really have?

Sex is traded, under varying levels of coercion, for money, protection, or, as in the latest allegations from the Democractic Republic of Congo, jobs with international aid organisations. Some aid workers have also been accused of withholding humanitarian supplies until they receive sexual favours.

The international community has known for more than 20 years that sexual misconduct by aid workers is a serious issue that violates the foundational values on which humanitarian work is based.

— source | Jasmine-Kim Westendorf | 6 Oct 2020

Nullius in verba

British government continues to aid repression in human rights-abusing countries

The British government is continuing to approve the export of hi-tech surveillance equipment and software of the type that is being used by states abusing human rights to monitor and repress dissent, new government figures show. The government’s exports of “telecommunications interception equipment” to repressive states are likely unlawful.

In the past 12 months, “telecommunications interception equipment”, or software and technology for such equipment, has been exported to 13 countries, including authoritarian regimes such as the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia, Oman and Qatar.

— source | Mark Curtis and Matt Kennard | Oct 1, 2019

Nullius in verba

Tech giants sued over ‘appalling’ deaths of children who mine their cobalt

An international advocacy group has launched a lawsuit against some of the world’s largest tech companies for the deaths and injuries of child miners in Congolese cobalt mines. International Rights Advocates brought the case on behalf of 14 Congolese families whose children were killed or injured while mining for cobalt. The metal is key ingredient in the rechargeable lithium-ion batteries that power most electronic devices. The defendants named in the suit include Apple, Microsoft, Dell, Tesla and Google’s parent company, Alphabet.

The lawsuit accuses those companies of “knowingly benefiting from and aiding and abetting the cruel and brutal use of young children.” It has not been tested in court. ​​

Siddharth Kara, a public policy lecturer at Harvard Kennedy School, has been looking into the conditions at Congolese cobalt mines for years. His research is the foundation of the lawsuit.

— source | John McGill | Dec 17, 2019

Nullius in verba