We protect the privacy and freedom of our customers and employees
At Tele2, we are firmly committed to safeguarding our customers' and employees' privacy and integrity. We have sometimes been criticised for this commitment, as public opinions fluctuates over time. But above all, our devotion to privacy has been celebrated by both consumers, businesses and authorities using our services.
Within Tele2, we have rules on how we handle the personal data that our customers and employees entrust us with. This includes rules on how we process and store data, how we keep it up to date, provide customers with access to it when needed, and how we ensure personal data is only used for the purpose agreed. Those rules are either made by us, because we think it is good practice to be careful with personal data and privacy, or based on government regulations. We keep a close eye to these rules and continue to adjust them according to technology advancements or new regulation. For example in 2018, we changed our privacy and data protection policies to match the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
Because of the services we provide, we process personal data. For example when we send a bill to a customer, or when we make sure to connect a call to the right person. To protect and respect privacy, every operation within the Tele2 Group takes responsibility for privacy and data protection and is equipped with the necessary resources. Furthermore, they are all supported by a group function that promotes the correct application of privacy and data protection requirements by providing guidance and feedback. We have a Group Privacy Officer (GPO), and we have Data Protection Officers (DPOs) in all our local operations. The GPO reports to the Group General Counsel, who is part of our Executive Management.
Connecting human rights defenders
Tele2 strongly believes in freedom of speech. We are therefore proud to partner with Civil Rights Defenders and provide their important Natalia Project with our global IoT connectivity.
Safeguarding an open internet: Net neutrality
Net neutrality is a core part of the EU Regulation 2015/2120, known as the Telecoms Single Market Regulation. To ensure an open internet, the regulation contains both rights and obligations:
- The end user’s right to an open internet, which cannot be limited through agreements or commercial offers.
- An obligation for suppliers of internet connectivity services to handle all traffic over the internet equally, however reasonable traffic guiding actions can under certain circumstances be allowed.
- Suppliers of internet connectivity services are able to apply traffic guiding actions outside of what could be considered reasonable, only if it is necessary to: a) Fulfil legal requirements, rulings or certain regulatory decisions, b) Maintain security and integrity in the network, the services that are forwarded and the end users’ terminal equipment, c) Prevent an imminent overload of the network or to ease the effects of exceptional or temporary overload of the network, under the condition that traffic from similar categories are treated similarly.
- The right of internet and content providers to provide other services than internet access services with optimized quality, under the condition that sufficient capacity is available in the networks.
- Transparency demands for online services.
Tele2 fully complies with said net neutrality regulation, and the guidelines on interpretation and application of the regulation provided by ”BEREC Guidelines on the Implementation by National Regulators of European Net Neutrality Rules”, BoR (16) 127, and will continue to do so.
While other Swedish mobile operators have been challenged by the Swedish regulator regarding their practice concerning net neutrality, Tele2 has never been that.
Read more about net neutrality and Swedish operators in this report by the Swedish regulator.
Privacy and integrity are not only about how we use data
Governments make rules which allow them to ask for access to our customers’ communications or data, for example to prevent terrorist attacks. But we always think carefully before we implement such rules, especially when it comes to customer data. We consider our customers' fundamental rights to privacy, integrity and freedom of expression extremely important, and we will fight for them if necessary.
Take for example the landmark ruling of the European Court of Justice on data retention, referred to as the Tele2 case. We were told to retain and upon request give access to the communications data of all our customers, for example detailed information on Tele2´s customers’ use of their services. We successfully argued that keeping that data on all our customers for the period demanded was not a proportionate infringement of their right to privacy and should therefore not be allowed. The law was overturned by the highest European Court, a victory for the privacy of our customers of which we are proud!
In October 2019, a new Swedish data retention law entered into effect. The Swedish government made changes to the old law to make it compatible with the Tele2 judgement: Storage times have been limited, the scope of the legislation is reduced, data must be stored in the EU and a prosecutor has to give approval before data is being accessed.
Tele2 does normally cooperate with authorities that want to have special access to our systems and information in order to combat crime and terrorism. But our requirements is that it has to done on a legal basis and applied in a way that is justified and proportionate. So we will continue to take a stance to defend our own interests and those of our customers when governments propose disproportionate laws, or when authorities request information in a way that is incompatible with fundamental human rights.
Additional information and Q&A