Freedom of expression
Telecommunications enable the exchange of ideas and access to information in a way that supports openness and transparency. It is our duty to respect our customers’ and users’ freedom of expression and privacy.
|Strategic objective||2018 goals|
Enable, respect and support freedom of expression and privacy.
We are regarded as the trusted ICT industry leader in human rights.
• All markets covered in law enforcement disclosure with regards to statistics on government requests and information on local requests.
• All closed unconventional requests challenged.
• Actively contribute to the work of the Telecommunications Industry Dialogue and its collaboration with the Global Network Initiative.
Issues related to freedom of expression and privacy pose a high risk to users of telecom services globally. Such risks include mass surveillance, network shutdowns, localization of mobile devices and blocking or restriction of certain content. Through legislation and decisions from authorities, states define the scope of surveillance of communications and limitations to the free flow of information. We foresee that freedom of expression will become increasingly important as legislators seek additional surveillance measures to fight crime and terrorism.
The work is governed by the Group Policy – Freedom of Expression in Telecommunications, the Guiding Principles – Telecommunications Industry Dialogue on Freedom of Expression and Privacy and the UN Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights.
Our duty to respect and promote human rights is focused on the risks to our customers. We aim to limit potential harm to individuals by seeking active measures to support the rights of our customers where we believe that these are at risk.
The Group Policy addresses our commitments in relation to requests or demands with potentially serious impacts on freedom of expression in telecommunications (“unconventional requests”). A group instruction sets out practical steps regarding assessments and escalation whenever a local company receives a potentially serious request or demand. Guidance is provided in a form for assessments and escalation.
We publish a Law Enforcement Disclosure Report which covers statistics on requests from the police and other authorities (‘transparency reporting’), links to national laws that provide governments with direct access to information about our customers and their communication without having to request information from Telia Company, as well as further information on ‘unconventional requests’.
More information, including 2015 outcome on the goals and law enforcement disclosure statistics, can be found in our Annual and Sustainability Report.