Freedom of Expression – Requests to Tcell to provide tools for surveillance

This fall in Tajikistan, the General Prosecutor's Office, being guided by local laws, have asked Tcell to provide tools for surveillance.

In December 2013, TeliaSonera  adopted a Group Policy on Freedom of Expression in Telecommunications, available here. The Policy describes our commitments in relation to unconventional requests and demands from Authorities in the context of surveillance of communications. Government's requests or demands upon operators often serve legitimate purposes, but they may also be problematic.

This fall in Tajikistan the General Prosecutor's Office, being guided by local laws, have asked Tcell to provide modems with an Internet traffic for technical support of the United State Headquarters on investigation of events connected with armed rebellion, also especially serious crimes connected with participation of citizens of the Republic of Tajikistan in the international terrorist organizations in the territory of the foreign countries. Thus, the Prosecutor General's Office of the Republic of Tajikistan won't interfere with commercial and economic activities of Tcell. There is no formal legal obligation to provide free facilities and Tcell is therefore reviewing this practices.

TeliaSonera, as one of the ten principles in the Policy, argue that the company should retain operational control of its networks and systems. In a broader context this is also applicable to our products and services when accessed outside of a normal commercial relationship or under a sponsorship agreement. Tcell is fulfilling the requests solely on the basis of that the Authority has ascertained that the tools will be used exclusively for surveillance regarding illegal activities in accordance with the local law.

We have committed to report transparently, when relevant and to the extent legally permissible, in relation to unconventional requests issued by government authorities.

The Policy of TeliaSonera is not to engage in the politics of the countries in which we operate. We do not comment on politics or make political statements when representing our company. However, TeliaSonera does engage in dialogue regarding requests from authorities that affect our business and customers of companies in which we have ownership interests.