“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 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights)
1. Technology and Human Rights
Technology is transforming human existence at an accelerating pace. As technology evolves, it touches lives in new ways. New digital technologies 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 and actions 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. Although governments will always play a primary role in determining and protecting basic human rights in their jurisdiction, 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. The panel 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 Synamedia and Anti-Piracy
Synamedia is the largest independent global provider of video solutions. Our aim is to change the way PayTV operators and other media companies deliver, protect and monetize their content. Synamedia has over 2300 employees worldwide, with offices in over 10 different countries, including locations in Europe, Asia and North America.
The ability to protect intellectual property rights has always been a central tool for providing artists and rightsholders with the necessary economic incentives to invest in creating content, but it is particularly important today. Digitization of media content and the widespread availability of the Internet in the late 1990s radically changed the ease, quality, and scope of 3
piracy. Some of the piracy activity on the Internet is organized and systematic, and in some cases, it is even related to criminal organizations. The increase in illegal content hosted by online platforms creates real harm in society. Piracy causes billions of dollars in damage to rights holders, but it has other negative social effects, as the Interpol points out: “criminals behind these pirate sites can be part of organized crime groups who use the proceeds to fund serious crimes, and who engage in fraud and money laundering.”
Synamedia enjoys an unmatched track record providing video security for the world’s leading pay TV operators and distributors. Leveraging decades of video security and operational security intelligence expertise, our end-to-end solutions provide multiple security layers to combat piracy effectively, and are continuously updated to counter new, evolving attacks. Synamedia’s Streaming Piracy Disruption (SPD) is a managed service that detects and disrupts piracy leaks across broadcast and OTT services. SPD combines decades of Synamedia video security expertise with proactive human intelligence. The end-to end, customizable solution handles video redistributed from either broadcast set-top boxes (STBs) or OTT service clients. Synamedia Is Committed to Respecting Human Rights
Human rights are the fundamental rights, freedoms, and standards of treatment to which all people are entitled whatever their nationality, place of residence, sex, national or ethnic origin, color, religion, language, or any other status. The idea of human rights is as simple as it is powerful: that people have a right to be treated with dignity.
Societies across the globe take different approaches to find balance between respect for human rights and protection of important public interests. Synamedia 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. 4
While it is the duty of governments to protect human rights, Synamedia recognizes its responsibility to respect and uphold internationally recognized human rights. Synamedia 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.
Synamedia believes that the technologies and anti-piracy services we provide are a social good that can support human rights by maintaining the rule of law and preventing acts of illegal copyright and intellectual property infringement. We recognize, however, that our activities may infringe upon human rights such as the right to freedom of expression or the right for privacy, despite the best intentions of Synamedia. We take responsibility to ensure our activities are not used to limit or infringe on human rights for an improper purpose or in a disproportionate way.
Synamedia Human Rights and Technology Policy Statement (the “Policy”) formalizes Synamedia’s 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.
3. Principles of the Policy
Synamedia 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, Synamedia has identified the following core principles:
3.1. Policy Commitment
As the basis for embedding Synamedia’s responsibility to respect human rights, we express our commitment to meet this responsibility through this Policy that: (a) Is approved at the Board level of the company; (b) Is informed by relevant external advice and expertise; (c) Is publicly available 5
and communicated internally and externally; (d) Is reflected in operational policies and procedures necessary to embed it throughout the business enterprise.
Synamedia’s anti-piracy activity is done in line with the principles outlined Commission Recommendation (EU) 2018/334 of 1 March 2018 on measures to effectively tackle illegal content online C/2018/1177.
Synamedia regularly reviews and updates its policies, guidelines, procedural processes and management systems to respond to evolving best practice.
3.2. Human Rights Due Diligence
To identify, prevent, mitigate and account for how Synamedia addresses its adverse human rights impacts in the field of anti-piracy activity, Synamedia carries out assessing, investigating and acting upon the findings, tracking responses, and communicating how impacts are addressed. Proper Purpose and Proportionality
3.3. Proper Purpose and Proportionality
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 a 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 entrench 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.
Synamedia is committed to principles of proper purpose and proportionality. Accordingly, Synamedia adopt a policy that adheres to a proper purpose and proportionality in its actions that may result in the abuse of human rights and set a default condition to reduce the potential for 6
misuse. In this context, as a rule, the anti-piracy activity will be targeted against organized and systematic suspicious activity of distributing illegal content that infringes copyright.
Accountability is a key principle in the respecting of human rights. This dimension is based on audit and control and external communication. Synamedia 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 its anti-piracy activity will be subject to an internal audit annually.