Archive for June, 2015

Annette_Fergusson

Industry Dialogue releases resource on 44 countries’ laws on freedom of expression and privacy in telecommunications

By Annette Fergusson

 

A little over a year ago, Vodafone Group published its first Law Enforcement Disclosure Report, accompanied by a Legal Annexe which describes some of the most important powers available to government agencies and authorities seeking to access customer communications. Vodafone subsequently updated the Annexe to include information on censorship related powers, and ID members Telenor Group and TeliaSonera have made available information on the legal frameworks in many of their markets.

Now, the Industry Dialogue is pleased to build on this work by publishing reports on five countries – Colombia, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, and Russia – that represent the diversity of its companies’ global footprint.   We are combining this information with the reports that have already been published in one online resource, which we hope will be useful to civil society organisations, academics, investors, and others who study the norms regulating government access to communications and capacity to restrict content.

Looking at the letter of these laws, some of the challenges facing our companies become apparent. Many countries lack a clear and transparent legal framework regarding government restriction of the content of communications and access to communications data. Provisions for adequate, independent oversight of these powers are also often absent. As a condition of operating in certain countries, governments may also require unrestricted direct access into companies’ infrastructure for the purpose of interception of communications and/or access to communications related data, leaving the company without any operational or technical control of its technology.

At the same time, the reports reveal good practices in terms of clarity, oversight, and access to remedy. We took the opportunity to highlight some of these good policy practices during a panel discussion at the 2015 Freedom Online Conference. We also welcome your efforts to highlight more good practices or to compare and analyze these legal frameworks, and for that reason, all of this information is available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license (CC BY-SA 4.0). We will do our best as individual companies and as a group to build on this resource and to update it periodically.

In the coming weeks, we will be presenting this resource to experts and stakeholders, starting with a discussion to take place during our quarterly meeting in London on July 1. We invite you to send us your feedback, questions, and opportunities to carry the conversation forward.

 

Industry Dialogue Quarterly Meeting in London

On July 1-2, Nokia hosted the Industry Dialogue’s quarterly face-to-face meeting at its London offices.  The meeting offered the opportunity for companies to share learning and to discuss the way forward with representatives of the Global Network Initiative.

 

The Industry Dialogue also took the opportunity to share its new Resource on Country Legal Frameworks with a group of expert stakeholders.  ID companies learned how some experts are currently using the resource and received recommendations on how it might be updated and expanded upon in the future.

 

 

Industry Dialogue companies present their work at GES Investment seminar in London

On May 28, 2015, Milka Pietikainen (Millicom) and Patrik Hiselius (TeliaSonera) presented their companies’ approach to respecting freedom of expression and privacy and highlighted the work of the Telecommunications Industry Dialogue at an event hosted by GES Investment Services in London.  The event sought to inform the group of 25 investors and company representatives in attendance of the challenges facing telecommunications operators in their global operations.

Milka and Patrik discussed the specific challenges that their companies’ operating environments present with regard to government demands that may be inconsistent with international human rights standards on freedom of expression and privacy.  They explained how each company’s policies and procedures aim to meet these challenges, as well as how they have benefitted from building leverage around respect for human rights in the telecommunications sector.  A lively question and answer session followed the presentation.

For more insights into how companies participating in the Industry Dialogue are meeting challenges related to freedom of expression and privacy, read our 2015 Annual Report.

Telecommunications Industry Dialogue welcomes new report by UN Special Rapporteur for freedom of expression

 

The Telecommunications Industry Dialogue welcomes the new report by UN Special Rapporteur for freedom of opinion and expression, David Kaye, which was released on 28 May 2015 and will be presented to the Human Rights Council at its 29th session in June.  The report addresses encryption and anonymity in digital communications and makes a number of recommendations to states, international organizations, civil society, and the private sector.

 

When advising corporate actors to ensure that their practices are consistent with human rights norms, Mr. Kaye indicates that “At a minimum, companies should adhere to principles such as those laid out in the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, the Global Network Initiative’s Principles on Freedom of Expression and Privacy, . . . and the Telecommunications Industry Dialogue Guiding Principles.”  The Industry Dialogue is pleased to be highlighted as a good practice and reiterates its desire to welcome new members in the telecommunications industry to its group, as well as to continue its proactive dialogue with key stakeholders.

 

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