Privacy and Integrity
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.
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