Respecting freedom of expression - Telia Company's view on new legisaltion in Kazakhstan

New Kazakhstan legislation on communications was enacted on 22 December 2016 on the establishment of a single database of IMEI codes with the aim to counter extremism and terrorism. Telia Company’s commitment is to respect freedom of expression, we therefore report on new legislation with potentially serious impacts on the freedom of expression of our customers.

Government’s surveillance and control 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.

New legislation
New Kazakhstan legislation on communications was enacted on 22 December 2016 on the establishment of a single database of IMEI codes with the aim to counter extremism and terrorism. Besides that, the Ministry of Information and Communications of Kazakhstan pointed out that this measure will allow reducing of import of infringing devices and effective combating with the theft of mobile phones.
 
Under this Law, the single IMEI codes database is to be set up by 1 July 2017. It will be prohibited for mobile operators to render services on unregistered subscriber devices starting from this date. The Regulations on registration of the subscriber devices of mobile network, mentioned in this Law have not been developed and approved yet.

"Simplify registration process"
The Ministry of Information and Communications of Kazakhstan has informed as follows: "It is planned to perform the procedure of registration without the physical participation of subscribers in order to simplify the registration process."
 
The full text of the law is available, in Russian, here

Telia Company subsidiary Kcell has instructed its customer care how to answer customers as to the above, including that it is planned to perform the procedure of registration without the physical participation of subscribers.

"Clear and transparent"
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. Telia Company, as further defined in our Group Policy, advocates clear and transparent legal provisions on proportionality and necessity for all government legislation in the context of surveillance and control over communications. Telia Company will continue to promote these views, also when interacting with the Government of Kazakhstan in applying this new legislation.