Key telecommunication players sign principles on Freedom of Expression and Privacy and announce collaboration with GNI

TeliaSonera, and its fellow founding members of the Telecommunication Industry Dialogue, have today published the signed guiding principles on telecommunication and freedom of expression and privacy. The principles are the result of two years of dialogue. In addition, the Global Network Initiative (GNI) today announced a two year collaboration with the Industry Dialogue group. By working together, the Industry Dialogue and GNI aim to advance freedom of expression and privacy rights in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector more effectively.

The Telecommunication Industry Dialogue is a group of international telecommunication operators and vendors who joined forces in 2011. The Industry Dialogue has developed a set of guiding principles on telecommunication and freedom of expression and privacy in the context of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, and is open to other telecommunications companies committed to advancing freedom of expression and privacy rights in the sector.

The companies that are currently participating in the industry dialogue are: Alcatel-Lucent, France Telecom-Orange, Millicom, Nokia Siemens Networks, Telefonica, Telenor, TeliaSonera, and Vodafone. These companies have a global footprint, providing services and equipment to consumers, businesses, and governments worldwide.

“I am very pleased to announce the signed principles and the collaboration with the GNI. Freedom of expression and privacy are key challenges for the telecommunication industry, and together we can achieve more. Since its inception in 2011, the Industry Dialogue has had as short term goals to develop these guiding principles and establish a home for them. Today these two objectives have been met”, says Cecilia Edström, SVP Corporate Communications, TeliaSonera. “We will now implement these principles in our respective organizations and aim to include more participants together with the GNI.”

The GNI will provide a common platform to exchange best practices, learning, and tools. During the two years of collaboration, the members of the GNI and the Industry Dialogue aim to find a shared and practical approach to promoting freedom of expression and privacy around the world.

“Telecommunications play an essential role in facilitating the free flow of information, and today the human rights and economic impacts of the sector are in the global spotlight,” said GNI Executive Director Susan Morgan. “The GNI believes that strength lies in numbers and this is an important opportunity to pursue shared goals and a common approach to human rights.”

The telecommunication companies are not joining GNI as part of this collaboration. There is a review process built into the work that will assess progress during the two years.

“This is a positive step from some of the world's largest companies providing communications and Internet access to consumers around the world and we hope that this effort will lead to full implementation of human rights standards through membership in GNI,” said Arvind Ganesan, director of business and human rights at Human Rights Watch. “This is an opportunity for GNI to learn from telecom companies about the complex human rights challenges they face and for them to learn from GNI about how they can develop an accountable system to safeguard human rights.”

Read more about:
Guiding Principles on Freedom of Expression and Privacy

Human rights within the international legal framework for telecom operators

GNI is a multi-stakeholder group of companies, civil society organizations (including human rights and press freedom groups), investors and academics, who have created a collaborative approach to protect and advance freedom of expression and privacy in the ICT sector. GNI provides resources for ICT companies to help them address difficult issues related to freedom of expression and privacy that they may face anywhere in the world. GNI has created a framework of principles and a confidential, collaborative approach to working through challenges of corporate responsibility in the ICT sector. Read more:

The Telecommunications Industry Dialogue was formed in 2011 to jointly address freedom of expression and privacy risks within the sector. The Industry Dialogue Guiding Principles are available in English, French, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, Russian and Turkish. Companies currently participating in the Industry Dialogue are:

  • Alcatel-Lucent

  • France Telecom-Orange

  • Millicom

  • Nokia Siemens Networks

  • Telefonica

  • Telenor

  • TeliaSonera

  • Vodafone

For more information, please contact the TeliaSonera press office +46 771 77 58 30,, visit our Newsroom or follow us on Twitter @TLSN_Media.

TeliaSonera provides network access and telecommunication services in the Nordic and Baltic countries, the emerging markets of Eurasia, including Russia and Turkey, and in Spain. TeliaSonera helps people and companies communicate in an easy, efficient and environmentally friendly way. Our ambition is to be number one or two in all our markets, providing the best customer experience, high quality networks and cost efficient operations. TeliaSonera is also the leading European wholesale provider with a wholly-owned international carrier network. In 2012, net sales amounted to SEK 105 billion, EBITDA to SEK 36.1 billion and earnings per share to SEK 4.59. The TeliaSonera share is listed on NASDAQ OMX Stockholm and NASDAQ OMX Helsinki. Read more at