HUMAN RIGHTS POLICY STATEMENT
“All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.” (The Universal Declaration of Human Rights)
1. Technology and Human Rights
Technologies are transforming the human experience at an accelerating pace. As technology evolves, it touches lives in new ways. New digital technologies such as cloud computing, artificial intelligence and facial recognition, have brought along previously unimaginable changes to the lives of most people on the planet and they already play a key role in achieving positive social and economic developmental objectives. While technological advances are often hugely beneficial, they may pose a significant danger to individual rights. Public awareness of these technology-related dangers is growing rapidly, and the media constantly raises questions about the intentions of cyber companies and technology firms. Almost every new expert report, industry commitment and governmental declaration emphasize the need to address technology-related risks. Numerous countries and organizations now acknowledge the potential threat that technology companies pose to individual rights. In this complex reality, technology companies need to do more to respect human rights in their business practices. This sentiment was expressed in the report of the UN Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel on Digital Cooperation which identified the links between digital cooperation and achieving the SDGs. The panel noted the important role that tech companies can play in this regard but pointed out that “there is now a critical need for clearer guidance about what should be expected on human rights from private companies as they develop and deploy digital technologies.”
2. About Cobwebs Technologies
Cobwebs Technologies brings many years of vast experience in the global intelligence market. The team comprises professionals with experience from military and intelligence agencies. Our extensive knowledge in web intelligence gained through years of involvement with projects in the field, has enabled us to identify the intelligence community’s need for a suitable intelligence solution to cope with current technological challenges.
We offer innovative cutting-edge systems for both national security agencies and private sectors. Our solutions pinpoint web relations, criminal activities, and terrorist threats with a click of a button. We work with clients from all over the world, assisting them with investigations and analysis of targeted data. We provide a range of products, starting from passive and active investigation systems to a complete end-to-end solution.
3. Cobwebs Technologies Is Committed to Respecting Human Rights
Human rights are the fundamental rights, freedoms, and standards of treatment to which all people are entitled. The idea of human rights is as simple as it is powerful: that people have a right to be treated with dignity. Human rights are inherent in all human beings, whatever their nationality, place of residence, sex, national or ethnic origin, color, religion, language, or any other status.
Societies across the globe take different approaches to find balance between respect for human rights and governmental efforts to maximize public safety. Cobwebs believes that long-term answers to the tension between human rights and public interests, and to how technology is best used to enable human rights, will come not from companies and technical solutions, but from open societal debate and informed decision-making processes based on principles of proper purpose and proportionality.
While it is the duty of governments to protect human rights, Cobwebs Technologies recognizes its responsibility to respect and uphold internationally recognized human rights. Cobwebs Technologies is committed to respecting human rights. We respect human rights by seeking to avoid infringing on the rights of others and working to address adverse human rights impacts with which we are involved.
Cobwebs Technologies believes that the technologies we provide are a social good that can support human rights by maintaining the rule of law and preventing acts of terrorism and crime and enabling access to information and economic development. We recognize, however, that technology can be misused, despite the best intentions of Cobwebs Technologies. We have a responsibility to ensure our technology is not used to limit or infringe on human rights for an improper purpose in a disproportionate way.
Cobwebs Technologies Human Rights Policy Statement (the “Policy”) formalizes Cobwebs’ commitment to respect human rights and embodies common principles reflected in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and its related covenants, the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises.
4. Principles of the Policy
Cobwebs Technologies recognizes the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) as the standard reference and strives to implement its principles to respecting human rights. According to this commitment, Cobwebs Technologies has identified the following core principles:
4.1. Policy Commitment
As the basis for embedding Cobwebs Technologies responsibility to respect human rights, we express our commitment to meet this responsibility through this Policy that: (a) Is approved at the most senior level of company; (b) Is informed by relevant external expertise; (c) Stipulates the company’s human rights expectations of personnel, business partners and other parties directly linked to its operations, products or services; (d) Is publicly available and communicated internally and externally; (e) Is reflected in operational policies and procedures necessary to embed it throughout the business enterprise.
Cobwebs’ human rights operational policies, procedures, and guidelines cover the following fields: (a) Technology product development policy; (b) Human rights due diligence procedures; (c) Sales Policy; (d) Contractual arrangements; (e) Accountability and auditing mechanisms.
Cobwebs Technologies is regularly reviewing and updating its policies, guidelines, procedural processes and management systems to respond to evolving best practice.
4.2. Human Rights Due Diligence
To identify, prevent, mitigate and account for how Cobwebs Technologies address its adverse human rights impacts, Cobwebs carries out human rights due diligence. The process includes assessing actual and potential human rights impacts, integrating and acting upon the findings, tracking responses and communicating how impacts are addressed.
Cobwebs Technologies’ Human rights due diligence: (a) covers adverse human rights impacts that it may cause or contribute to through its activities, or which may be directly linked to its operations, products or services by its business relationships; (b) is ongoing, recognizing that the human rights risks may change over time as Cobwebs’ operations and operating context evolve.
Cobwebs Technologies tightly interweaves human rights due diligence procedures into all functions of the company including product development, marketing, sales, delivery, training, technical support, and maintenance.
Cobwebs Technologies does not operate its products itself or on behalf of its customers; its role is limited to the provision of technical support and maintenance services to its customers. However, Cobwebs fully understands the potential for its products to be misused by its customers, thereby resulting in adverse human rights impacts disproportionately. Misuse of Cobwebs products to infringe human rights is wrong and, ultimately, the responsibility of such actions lies with those who conduct the act of misuse. However, Cobwebs has committed itself to high business and human rights standards, seeking to ensure that Cobwebs’ products will be used for proper purposes proportionally and that Cobwebs takes all reasonable steps to prevent and mitigate the risks of adverse impact on human rights from its products.
Cobwebs Technologies sales process is pre-emptive and rigorous. It is used to identify the potential risk level of human rights violations through the misuse of our products before any sale is done, while also attempting to identify ways to mitigate these risks to ensure compliance to Cobwebs Human Rights Policy. Our approach looks at aspects such as a country’s long-term commitment to upholding Human Rights, the intended use of technology and customer type to help identify potential risks early in the process and trigger the required investigation and senior-level approval or denial review where needed. Where we identify higher risks to disproportionate violation of human rights, we undertake enhanced due diligence and explore mitigants. If the risks are too great, we do not proceed.
4.3. Proper Purpose, Proportionality and Human Rights by Design
At the foundation of any discussion of human rights lies a basic differentiation between two separate questions. The first question is, what is the scope of the right? That question examines those entitled to the right and those obligated by it. The second question relates to the limitation upon the scope of the right by an act of state or other organs. That question examines the realization of the human right in and the extent of protection granted to it. The answer to the first question is found in the International treaties and national legislation language that entrenches the right. The answer to the second question is found in the legal scheme that allows limitation of or infringement upon the right. At the heart of the possibility of limiting human rights are the principles of proper purpose and proportionality.
Cobwebs Technologies is committed to principles of proper purpose and proportionality. Accordingly, Cobwebs thoroughly explores the purpose for which the customer or end-user seeks to purchase the company’s products. In addition, the company will adapt to each customer or end-user the appropriate product package for its purposes and set a default condition for using Cobwebs products to reduce the potential for misuse.
Under this “human rights by design” approach, Cobwebs Technologies commits to designing tools, technologies and services to respect human rights by default. Cobwebs purposely design by default its products, in order to support effective use and to prevent unauthorized or accidental misuse. Cobwebs include obligations to respect and protect human rights in its contractual agreements with its business partners and customers. Cobwebs Technologies standard agreements specifically require our customers to use its products solely for a proper purpose and to ensure that the products will not be used to violate human rights.
Accountability is a key principle in the respecting of human rights. This principle is based on three dimensions:
(a) Grievance mechanisms – one of the fundamental principles of the international human rights system is that victims must have access to an effective remedy when their rights have been violated. While judicial mechanisms are at the core of ensuring access to remedy, an operational-level grievance mechanism can play an essential role in complementing and supplementing judicial mechanisms. An operational-level grievance mechanism is a non-judicial grievance mechanism established or provided for by a company, or otherwise linked to it.
(b) Internal governance and an independent audit by external experts – Human rights-based audit programs should be part of a company’s governance procedures. Audits establish whether management systems are working as planned; they focus on the causes of problems and the necessary corrective measures. Human rights-based audits by qualified personnel, preferably verified by external human rights experts, should be carried out regularly and made available publicly. Auditing is also a tool for the Board and Executive Committee of a business to ensure that the strategies, policies, procedures, and processes outlined in this Guide have been properly implemented. The Board of Directors and senior management are responsible for reviewing corporate responsibility policies and programs including human rights. The Compliance Officer oversees the implementation of company policies working within the Corporation.
(c) Transparency and communication – In order to account for how they address their human rights impacts, business enterprises should be prepared to communicate this externally. The responsibility to respect human rights requires that business enterprises have policies and processes in place, through which they can both know and show that they respect human rights in practice. Showing involves communication, providing a measure of transparency and accountability to individuals or groups who may be impacted and to other relevant stakeholders, including investors. Communication can take a variety of forms, including in-person meetings, online dialogues, consultation with affected stakeholders and formal public reports. Formal reporting is itself evolving, from traditional annual reports and corporate responsibility reports, to include online updates and integrated financial and non-financial reports. Independent verification of human rights reporting can strengthen its content and credibility.
Cobwebs Technologies acts to implement the various dimensions of the principle of accountability in its operations and determine operational policies, procedures, and guidelines for this purpose. As part of this, the company will publish this policy publicly and will be subject to an internal audit by external experts annually.
For further clarification or questions, please send an email to: [email protected]