Etisalat Group establishes and operates telecommunication and fiber optics networks, along with a broad suite of other services in the United Arab Emirates and in 16 other countries in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. Its operations include operation and management of telecom networks as well as media services, connectivity services, and consulting.
Etisalat performed poorly in the Governance category, receiving the fifth-lowest score of all 22 companies, ahead of Mail.Ru, Axiata, Ooredoo, and Baidu.
Etisalat provided no formal commitment to respect users’ freedom of expression and privacy as human rights (G1), and disclosed no senior-level oversight over these issues (G2). The company revealed no evidence of a human rights due diligence process (G4) or of engaging with stakeholders on freedom of expression or privacy issues (G5). It received some credit for disclosing a grievance and remedy mechanism, though the company did not explicitly state that this process includes complaints relating to free expression or privacy (G6).
Etisalat received the fifth-highest score of the 10 telecommunications companies evaluated in the Freedom of Expression category, ahead of Ooredoo, MTN, Axiata, and Bharti Airtel.
Content and account restriction requests: Like most telecommunications companies, Etisalat UAE provided almost no information about how it handles government or private requests to restrict content or accounts (F5-F7). For fixed-line broadband services, the company stated that it reviews users’ requests to block or unblock internet content under the UAE's “Internet Access Management Policy,” which prohibits certain types of content, but provides no additional information about how it responds to content-blocking or account restriction requests for its mobile services (F5). Likewise, Etisalat did not publish any data about government or private requests to restrict content or accounts that it receives or complies with (F6, F7).
Network management and shutdowns: Etisalat UAE was among the lowest-scoring companies on these indicators, though it offered slightly more disclosure than Ooredoo (F9-F10). Etisalat failed to disclose any information about its network management policies (F9) and had only vague disclosure of policies related to network shutdowns (F10).
Identity policy: Etisalat UAE disclosed that it requires pre-paid mobile service users to provide government-issued identification (F11). The UAE Telecom Regulatory Authority (TRA) requires all mobile phone service subscribers to do so.
Etisalat received the second-lowest score of the 10 telecommunications companies evaluated in the Privacy category, slightly ahead of Ooredoo.
Requests for user information: Etisalat UAE did not provide any information about how it handles requests for user information from governments and private parties, making it one of three companies, along with Ooredoo and Axiata, that received no credit on these indicators (P10-P11).
Security: Etisalat UAE had almost no disclosure on these indicators, scoring better than only Ooredoo (P13-P18). It disclosed that it has policies in place limiting employee access to user data but provides no additional information regarding its internal processes for ensuring that user data is secure (P13). It disclosed nothing about policies for addressing security vulnerabilities (P14) or for responding to data breaches (P15). There are no apparent legal obstacles to disclosing this information.