Respecting Freedom of Expression – TeliaSonera view on new legislation in Republic of Moldova

TeliaSonera’s Group Policy on Freedom of Expression in Telecommunications is available here . According to this Policy we will, whenever possible, report on commitments in relation to requests or demands with potentially serious impacts on the freedom of expression of our customers.

Government’s surveillance of communications often serve legitimate purposes such as the protection of certain human rights, but they may also be problematic in that they could conflict with other human rights. TeliaSonera’s commitment is to respect freedom of expression in telecommunications.

А proposal for amendments to the Moldovan legislation on cybercrimes, special investigation activities, the Criminal Procedure Code, Criminal Code as well as Contravention code were issued for public consultations in March 2015. The proposal contains a possibility to impose upon operators a set of obligations, notably related to;

  1. Obligations to store data traffic of all users and to provide it to state authorities at their request.
  2. Obligations to block access to all IP addresses of all sites, which contain child pornography, child sexual abuse or exploitation, promote war or terrorism, national/racial/religious discrimination, violence and crimes, based on a special list, created by the Government and periodically updated.

In case of non-compliance with the mentioned above obligations, operators will be obliged to pay fines. With regards to all these amendments, Moldcell has objected them by sending comments to the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

The law-proposal is public and available (in Romanian) via the following link http://particip.gov.md/proiectview.php?l=ro&idd=2189. In order to be adopted as a law it needs to be approved in two readings of the Parliament. TeliaSonera argues that clear and detailed law implementation mechanisms are needed in order to avoid freedom of expression and human rights infringements.

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 regulations that affect our business and customers of companies in which we have ownership interests.

TeliaSonera, as further defined in our Group Policy, advocates clear and transparent legal provisions on proportionality and necessity for all government surveillance of communications. TeliaSonera will continue to promote these views, also when interacting with the Government of Republic of Moldova in their drafting of this new legislation.