Respecting Freedom of Expression – Telia Company view on new legislation in Moldova

According to Telia Company’s Group Policy on Freedom of Expression in Telecommunications we will, whenever possible, report on developments 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. Telia Company’s commitment is to respect freedom of expression in telecommunications.

Telia Company’s Group Policy on Freedom of Expression in Telecommunications is available here.

А proposal for modifications to legislation in Moldova on special investigation measures was approved by the Government of the Republic of Moldova on March 30th 2016. The legislative initiative covers the prevention and fight of cybercrime, special investigation powers, the criminal code, and the contravention code. Electronic communication providers are proposed to be obliged to store data traffic of all users and provide it to state authorities upon request. Also, mobile communication providers are proposed to be obliged to block access to all IP addresses of all sites containing child sexual abuse material, the promotion of war or terrorism, national/racial/religious discrimination, violence and crimes. In case of non-execution of the abovementioned obligations, electronic communication providers are proposed to be penalized through a fine.

The law-proposal is public and available (in Romanian language) via the following link; http://particip.gov.md/proiectview.php?l=ro&idd=2189
The Policy of Telia Company 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, Telia Company does engage in dialogue regarding regulations that affect our business and customers of companies in which we have ownership interests.

It is our view that neither the proposed procedure for authorities to collect data, nor the provisions on blocking of internet, are sufficiently clear. Telia Company, as further defined in our Group Policy, advocates clear and transparent legal provisions on proportionality and necessity for all government surveillance of communications. Telia Company will continue to promote these views, also when interacting with the Government and the Parliament of Moldova in their continued drafting/adopting of this new legislation.

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Telia Company publishes on a six-monthly basis a Law Enforcement Disclosure Report. The report contains statistics related to government requests, information on uncnventional requests with a potential serious impact on freedom of expression, and links to national laws that provide governments with direct access t o information about our customers and their communication, without having to request information from Telia Company. See more about the Law Enforcement Disclosure Report here