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CDT Applauds New Partnership between GNI and European Telcos on Free Expression and Privacy

Washington – Today, in Washington, DC, the Global Network Initiative (GNI) announces a two-year collaboration with some of Europe’s leading global telecommunications companies. A group of eight companies: Alcatel-Lucent, France Telecom-Orange, Millicom, Nokia Siemens Networks, Telefonica, TeliaSonera, Telenor, and Vodafone, are signing up to an agreement with GNI to collaborate on advancing protection for the rights to free expression and privacy globally.

One of the most difficult challenges for global Internet and telecommunications companies is how to respond to governments that seek to use communications technologies to monitor Internet traffic, to control and deter political debate, and to hinder their peoples’ access to information . The GNI — set up in 2008 brings together companies, human rights groups and academics to develop principles and guidelines to help companies respond to attempts from governments [to compel Internet companies to comply with laws that conflict with and undermine internationally recognized human rights standards and to build a collaborative response to public policy.

The Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT) co-facilitated the process that led to the creation of the GNI.

Leslie Harris, President and CEO of CDT, and member of the GNI Board said: “We are very enthusiastic about this new collaboration. We commend the leadership shown by these eight European telecommunications players bring this important partnership about and hope that it will lead to a better understanding of the challenges faced by this sector in difficult markets. The more industry leaders join these discussions, the more effective we can be.”

Jens-Henrik Jeppesen, Director of CDT’s newly established European Affairs office, said: “ CDT is excited that European telecommunications industry leaders join forces with GNI’s multistakeholder leadership. to make progress in this critically important area. We will use our new European presence to help make this transatlantic partnership successful in any way we can.”


Leslie Harris
President & CEO, CDT
[email protected]

Jens-Henrik Jeppesen 
CDT Representative and Director of European Affairs
[email protected]