This report reflects the work of the Freedom Online Coalition’s Working Group 3 “Privacy and Transparency Online”, carried out between August 2014 and May 2015. The Freedom Online Coalition (FOC) is a partnership of 28 governments, working to advance Internet freedom – free expression, association, assembly, and privacy online – worldwide.
The Privacy and Transparency Working Group focuses on protecting and respecting human rights in the relationship between governments and information & communications technology (ICT) companies.
The Working Group is comprised of experts from governments, ICT companies, civil society and academia from across five continents. The Group was established as a multi-stakeholder forum under the auspices of the FOC and aims to support member governments’ implementation of the 2014 Tallinn Agenda for Freedom Online, which emphasizes the importance of enhancing transparency and protecting privacy as part of a commitment to Internet freedom. We aim not only to provide operational guidance to FOC government members and stakeholders, but also to contribute to the global discussion on transparency and accountability with respect to the relationship between governments and ICT companies.
This report is the product of the first year of the Working Group’s work. It focuses on transparency about government requests to ICT companies to disclose user information or restrict user content accessed through company platforms. We specifically address how governments and companies manage requests related to law enforcement and national security, and what each party does or does not disclose to the public about these interactions.