New Limits on US Government "Gag Orders" Will Advance the Rights of Global Technology Users

Wednesday, October 25, 2017 - 12:48

The Global Network Initiative (GNI) welcomes the decision by the United States Department of Justice to issue new guidelines that allow companies to be more transparent about government demands to access user data.

If implemented, this binding guidance will be an important advancement for the rights of technology users around the world. By limiting the use of so-called "gag orders", the guidance will allow companies to inform their users more quickly about legally compelled searches and disclosures of their personal data to federal law enforcement. 

The GNI calls on the United States Congress to codify these important transparency measures by passing legislating to prohibit indefinite gag orders.

"By putting limits on open-ended gag orders, the United States will enhance the rights of users around the world, and set an example for other governments," said Mark Stephens, CBE., Independent Chair of the Global Network Initiative. "Now Congress should take the next step and make a ban on indefinite gag-orders the law of the land." 

The GNI reiterates its call for all governments to ensure that their laws, procedures, and practices related to demands for user data from technology companies are consistent with international human rights law, including the principles of legality, necessity, and proportionality. 

About the Global Network Initiative 

Founded in 2008, The Global Network Initiative is an international multi-stakeholder group of internet and telecommunications companies, civil society organizations (including human rights and press freedom groups), investors and academics, who have created a collaborative approach to protect and advance freedom of expression and privacy in the ICT sector. GNI has built a framework of principles and implementation guidelines based on international human rights standards, on which GNI member companies are independently assessed. Our membership collectively advocates with governments to protect and advance user freedom of expression and privacy rights. 

For more information on GNI’s members and the GNI Principles, visit ouwebsite.