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Rights group urges more transparency from biometric surveillance vendors in LatAm

Rights group urges more transparency from biometric surveillance vendors in LatAm

Digital rights group Access Now urged biometric surveillance companies operating in Latin America for more transparency after presenting a new report detailing how many companies sent information on their human rights practices when queried.

The group sent a list of questions to 23 technology companies querying them on sales of surveillance products to governments, data collection practices and practices that ensure products are not used in human rights abuses in Latin American countries. Getting straight answers was “unsurprisingly difficult,” says the report. Only nine out of the 23 companies contacted chose to send information on their practices.

Among the companies that sent replies to Access Now are Idemia, Cellebrite, NEC, Dahua and IBM. Companies that declined to send answers include Huawei, Hikvision, Johnson Controls, Oosto and more.

Many of the replies lacked detail and clarity while some responses may indicate that companies are not in compliance with the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs), according to the report.

If they engage, their answers are mostly short, general, focused on the procurement angle, or coming straight from the public relations playbook,” Access Now’s Ángela Alarcón says in a press release. “Civil society needs accountability from these companies, and people across Latin America have the right to security and privacy.”

The Access Now report was published with the Asociación por los Derechos Civiles (ADC), Laboratory of Public Policy and Internet (LAPIN) and LaLibre.net.

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