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.