The Telco Hall of Shame

After two weeks of voting, the winner of the Network Interference Award is AT&T. Go here to read more!


Telco Hall of Shame: Inductees

AT&T
For Being BFFs With the NSA

Blackberry/RIM
For Handing Over Encryption Keys

France Telecom/Orange
For Shutting Down Networks and Snooping on Traffic

Huawei
For Equipping Repressive Regimes

MTN
For Enabling Tracking and Torture

Nokia/Siemens
For Tracking Democracy Activists

TeliaSonera
For Opening Their Networks to Security Agencies

Telstra
For Building Filtering Lists with User Data

Verizon
For Handing Over Data to the Government

Vodafone
For Shutting Down Networks and Handing Over User Data

ZTE
For Selling Surveillance to Dictators


Two years have passed since Egyptian telecommunications providers shut down mobile network service and internet service providers, endangering the lives and livelihoods of Egyptian citizens. The Egyptian ‘blackout’ shocked the world--and exposed the powerful role that telcos play as the gatekeepers to their users’ human rights.

In response to the events in Egypt, a group of global telecoms came together to form the “Industry Dialogue on Freedom of Expression and Privacy.” However, two years after the protests in Cairo, the Industry Dialogue has yet to release its Guiding Principles or establish a permanent structure. To mark this anniversary, Access has sent a letter to the Industry Dialogue, addressing the failure of the major telecoms involved to provide principled guidance to the industry and a united front to governments.

The importance of telcos cannot be understated, as they have extended communications to billions across the world. Since 2011, some positive developments have taken place internally amongst the companies, such as major privacy audits, new policies and training procedures, and some consultations with civil society. And we understand the challenges associated with trying to negotiate internally amongst all the members, and with the organization that will ultimately house the Industry Dialogue. Regardless more needs to be done - and urgently. 

Inspired by the determination of the protesters in Egypt, and in recognition of their Eighteen Days that finally pushed international telecoms into dialogue on human rights, Access has highlighted two years of telecom inaction and rights violations through our Telco Hall of Shame. 

More on Telcos

Two years from Tahrir, no progress on telcos and rights

Telcos called to account for inaction on anniversary of Egypt blackout

Letter to the Industry Dialogue

The Telegraph: Vodafone under fire over unmet Egypt pledges

TeliaSonera’s Uzbekistan scandal is a warning to telecom CEOs everywhere

The Telco Action Plan