Telenor believes telecommunications is a tool that will benefit the people of Myanmar, providing them with access to communications and a means to exchange views freely. However, we recognise that in Myanmar the focus on the government potentially accessing our data and networks is particularly important during the country’s transition towards more openness and democracy.
In the Telenor Group we have policies on privacy and freedom of expression. They address authorities’ requests for access to data, network shut downs, censorship, sending of information to the public via our networks, among other things. These policies also provide guidance for professional handling and response to authorities’ requests of this nature. We work with peers in the Telecommunications Industry Dialogue on Freedom of Expression and Privacy and have been active in developing Guiding Principles.
In addition to addressing these issues across the entire Telenor Group and internally within our operations in Myanmar, we are also engaging with stakeholders.
We note that the new Telecoms Law in Myanmar provides some safeguards for citizen rights, yet we believe it is in the development of new regulations that important clarifications will be made. Telenor is part of an ongoing dialogue with the Government of Myanmar, and has underlined the value of multi-stakeholder input on these issues. Similarly we have highlighted the importance of the principles of legitimacy, necessity and proportionality. A clearly defined legal mandate is needed to ensure a stable and predictable environment for all parties; the government, telecom operators and the public at large.
Going forward we will continue to have a focus on privacy and freedom of expression, and believe there is an important role to play for operators, civil society, government and other stakeholders. Internally we will focus on training of employees who will be dealing with government access requests and other aspects of processing of personal data. It is also our ambition to be transparent and report on these issues.