Privacy and free expression, both fundamental human rights, are closely connected. Protecting our customers’ information also enables them to communicate freely.

We secure customers’ data on our networks – and help them protect themselves online – as part of our strategy to create standout customer experiences (see our Annual Report). And our privacy impact assessment tool helps us make sure we build privacy into the design of new products and services to protect our customers and their data. 

Challenges around tech, privacy and free expression are continually evolving. We work with other tech companies and human rights organisations to respond through our involvement in the Global Network Initiative

During the pandemic, at the UK Government’s request, we provided limited anonymised network data – such as general patterns in the movement of people – to help plan the public health response to the Covid-19 pandemic. No personal data was involved and individual users remained anonymous. Safeguards included scheduled reviews, additional security and measures to guarantee that data stayed anonymised.

Sometimes authorities can legally request access to data or communications to help tackle serious crime or protect national security. In these cases, a government overrides individuals’ right to privacy to protect the security of its citizens. We have processes in place to assess each request carefully.

Our Privacy and Free Expression Report explains our approach to privacy and free expression in more depth.