Context and types of requirements

The rights of freedom of expression and user privacy are increasingly important to our industry. Telecommunications operators play a fundamental role in the exchange of ideas and the expression of opinions, which facilitates the development and expansion of human rights and democracy at the international level. At the same time, however, we must acknowledge that there are societal needs, such as those linked to national security, which may affect the secrecy of communications and privacy if an appropriate balance is not achieved.

The aim is to reconcile the due protection of personal data accessible to our company and complying with the requirement to provide for requests by the Competent Authorities, in accordance with the provisions of the law. Such requests may be directly or indirectly related to information regarding the communications of our customers or users, with the implementation of the technical measures necessary for the authorities to access communications in support of judicial activity, or even with limitations on access to the network, blocking access to certain sites and content, or even complete shutdown of networks or services.

As it occurs in the telecommunications sector, at Telefónica we receive requests from state security forces and bodies, governmental bodies and/or judges (Competent Authorities) regarding the following:

Lawful interceptions
Requests made by competent authorities within the framework of criminal and, where appropriate, civil investigations with the aim of intercepting communications or accessing traffic data in real time.

Access to metadata
Requests made by competent authorities that seek to obtain historical data referring to:

  • registered users’ name and address (subscriber information);
  • data identifying the source and destination of a specific communication (e.g., telephone numbers, Internet service usernames, etc.);
  • communication dates, times and duration;
  • type of communication;
  • computer equipment identities (including IMSI or IMEI);
  • the location of the user’s device

Content blocking and restriction
Requests made by competent authorities to block access to specific websites or any given content. These involve requests to block access to websites or contents, but not requests to delete user content. To give an example, blocking requests are issued because websites or contents infringe local laws (usually in relation to child pornography, online betting games, copyright, libel, the illegal sale of medicine, weapons, registered trademarks). We have incorporated the breakdown by blocking type when the tools and legislation so permit.

Geographical or temporary suspension of the service
Requests made by competent authorities to limit the provision of a service temporarily or geographically.

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