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Ear to the Ground

Vodafone Reveals Government Wiretaps

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Posted on Jun 6, 2014

Photo by Dan Taylor (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The Britain-based multinational telecommunications company confirmed that a small number of governments have direct access to the information coursing through its networks. The disclosure is in addition to the revelations by former contractor Edward Snowden that the British and American governments are spying on telephone and Internet users worldwide.

The BBC reports:

Vodafone said it values customer privacy, but it must comply with laws “designed to protect national security and public safety”.

In most of the 29 countries where Vodafone has major operations, including the UK, law enforcement and intelligence agencies must have a warrant to listen to phone calls or look at text messages, emails or web chats.

The firm said it could not specify the countries that have a direct line into its networks, because those countries have laws prohibiting disclosure of surveillance methods.

BBC analyst Gordon Corera says, “Vodafone’s report is a sign that telecoms companies are joining internet and other tech companies in providing for more transparency in their role sitting between customers and government.”

—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly

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