OECD Complaint v. Gamma (Surveillance Technology Exports from UK to Bahrain)
After a complaint submitted by Privacy International, Gamma International UK was found in breach of OECD Guidelines
On 1st February 2013, Privacy International, together with the European Centre for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR), the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, Bahrain Watch and Reporters without Borders, filed complaints with the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) against Gamma International, a company that exports “FinFisher” (or “FinSpy”) intrusive surveillance software, and Trovicor GmbH, a German company (formerly a business unit of Siemens) which also sells internet monitoring and mass surveillance products.
The complaint against Gamma International asked the UK National Contact Point (NCP), to ascertain whether the company breached the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises by exporting surveillance products to Bahrain, where the authorities use such products in human rights abuses, including the arrest, detention and torture of political opponents and dissidents.
In December 2014, the UK NCP issued its final statement. It found that the actions of Gamma International UK were inconsistent with paragraphs 2, 10 & 13 of Chapter II, and paragraphs 1,4, 5 & 6 of Chapter IV of the OECD Guidelines. The UK NCP requested Gamma to take action to align its conduct with the Guidelines, namely taking note of evidence from international bodies and UK government advice in its future due diligence, participating in industry best practice schemes and discussions, reconsidering its communications strategy to offer the most consistent and transparent engagement appropriate for its sector. Significantly, the UK NCP requested Gamma to co-operate with official remedy processes where it identified that its products may have been misused.
A year after its decision, the UK NCP requested an update from Gamma to determine whether the above recommendations were complied with. It received no reply.
In a follow-up statement issued in December 2016, the UK NCP regretted Gamma's failure to engage, finding that:
Gamma International UK Limited has made no progress (or effort) towards meeting the recommendations made in the Final Statement. The UK NCP therefore sees no reason to change the view reached in its Final Statement that Gamma’s behaviour is inconsistent with its obligations under the OECD Guidelines.