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Huawei ranked worst for secret corporate lobbying among big tech firms

The Chinese manufacturer Huawei has received the worst possible ranking for disclosing lobbying activities in a newly launched index. Big tech companies such as Amazon and Google fared slightly better, but the overall picture is worrying.

The index has been launched by the UK arm of Transparency International, a non-governmental organization dedicated to fighting corporate corruption. It tracked 104 multinational companies, including all of the biggest names in tech, and found “poor standards” in terms of disclosing lobbying activities across the board.

The companies analyzed were given a score on a scale of A to F for transparency in political engagement. Huawei, the manufacturer behind the popular devices Mate 20 Pro and P20 Pro, was given the worst possible score.

Huawei was joined by Disney and software company Sage, which is run by Jim Ratcliffe, Britain’s richest man. Several car manufacturers also received the ‘F’ rating including Ford, Honda, Nissan, and Toyota.

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Huawei scored the worst possible rating for transparency. / © Shutterstock

Facebook scored an E rating, the second-worst available. Mark Zuckerberg's company has already admitted to hiring lobbyists to attack George Soros, the Hungarian-American investor, so that it scored so badly should come as no surprise.

Amazon and Google fared slightly better, each scoring a D. The rating translates to having “poor standards” when it comes to being transparent on corporate lobbying. Apple scored a C, which means that its standard as classified as “fair”.

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Google and Amazon fared slightly better but still have "poor standards". / © Shutterstock

The director of Transparency International’s UK business integrity programme, Kathryn Higgs, said: “There are some pockets where it’s clear that some companies haven’t thought about managing certain risks, such as the ‘revolving door’.”

None of the 104 companies analyzed reported their global spending on lobbying in 2017. Only one company was awarded the top rating of A for transparency of political engagement, the pharmaceutical company GSK.

Honda, one of the few companies to release a statement on the report, said: “Our engagement with local and international governments and political organizations is carried out in compliance with all relevant laws and regulations. Honda will continue to work closely with industry groups and political stakeholders in this spirit.”

What do you think about big tech companies and political transparency? Should they be reporting their spending on lobbying governments? Let us know in the comments below.

Source: The Guardian

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