Industry Dialogue Submission to UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion and Expression

Read the full submission here.

Building on last year’s 2016 report to the Human Rights Commission, UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression David Kaye is completing a study of freedom of expression in the telecommunications and internet access sector.

The Industry Dialogue is pleased to share our submission to David Kaye’s study. We highlighted a series of challenges telecommunications companies face, including unclear legal frameworks in their operating environments, governments seeking direct access to company networks, and the rise in government restrictions of networks and communications services — a topic we continue to collaborate on with the Global Network Initiative.

The Special Rapporteur also intends to identify best practices for governments and companies in this next phase of his report.

For governments, we explored elements of good practices on the lawful disruptions of access to online services, including those identified in our submission to the Australian Government’s draft guidelines for the use of Section 313(3) of the Telecommunications Act 1997. Clear laws that respect international conventions and narrowly define by whom, how and in what circumstances law enforcement requests can be made are crucial to protecting privacy and free expression.

Industry Dialogue members urge additional telecommunications companies to join and implement the Industry Dialogue Guiding Principles in their operations to the fullest extent that does not place them in violation of domestic laws and regulations. Our submission offers a model for the sector as we illustrated examples of each of the eight companies in the Industry Dialogue implementing the principles in practice.

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