Respecting Freedom of Expression - TeliaSonera view on new legislation in the country of Kazakhstan

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 Kazakh legislation on communications was issued on 31 May 2014. The proposal contains a possibility to impose an administrative fine on operators due to non-compliance with the;

  1. obligation to provide registration of customers in accordance with the rules, approved by the Government of Kazakhstan;
  2. obligation to provide technical and organizational possibility for authorities to conduct operational-investigative measures (related to direct access to networks and services without a need to submit a request to the operator,  that is SORM), and to take measures not to disclose forms and methods of such measures;
  3. obligation to provide access to customer data for authorities carrying out operational-investigative activities; and
  4. obligation to provide functions of the telecom equipment for technical possibility to conduct operational-investigative activities.

  The law-proposal is public and available (in Russian) via the following link. In June 2014 the proposal was issued to the lower chamber of parliament and is currently on consultation round.

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 Kazakhstan in their drafting of this new legislation.