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Privacy and free expression

The new human rights challenges of being online are now widely understood. There have been media headlines on how tech companies use people’s data and how online platforms have been used to influence elections. Our interest is particularly around rights to privacy and free expression.

We support every person’s rights to privacy and free expression, in line with international human rights standards.   

The right to privacy

"No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks."

Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948

Most businesses collect information about their customers. Details like names, addresses, bank details and so on. We’re no different. Our customer database is one of the biggest in Europe. But as a communications provider we also store data about how customers communicate and who with.

This is highly sensitive information, which we must keep safe and confidential.

Our Privacy Policy sets out how we handle the data we collect from customers and everyone else who uses our products and services.

Respecting privacy, respecting legal obligations

We have to balance privacy rights with our legal obligation to comply with requests from law enforcement agencies for information on how individuals use our services.

We say more about this in our Privacy and Free Expression report below.

BT’s Investigatory Powers Governance Committee, which includes our chairman, group CEO and other senior leaders, oversees how we balance these responsibilities. 

The right to free expression

"Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers."

Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948

People should be free to access the content and services they want online, whenever they want, as long as it’s lawful. But sometimes we may need to limit people’s access to content.

This could be because the content is illegal. Or to keep people safe and secure online, particularly vulnerable groups like children. We say more about how we balance these issues in our Privacy and Free Expression report below.

Keeping our networks secure

To keep our customers’ personal information safe – and protect their rights to privacy and free expression – it’s important we keep our networks secure.

We give our customers advice on protecting their identities and data online.