Vodafone sheds light on global telecom surveillance

A Law Enforcement Disclosure report

Vodafone published a ground-breaking document, the first of its kind issued by a global telecommunications giant, that discloses which countries have been accessing data over its network in 29 countries.

Six of them can reportedly eavesdrop directly on Vodafone's lines without any warrant. Vodafone wouldn't reveal who those countries would be, for fear of breaking the local law (and facing being booted out of the country).

In an introductory note, the company explains the rationale behind the decision to publish such a report and mentions the constantly evolving privacy landscape.

"Tensions between the protection of the citizen's right to privacy and the duty of the state to ensure public safety and security", the authors of the report highlight, have been heightened as a consequence of the allegations made by the former US National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden

The report, which Vodaone says, will be updated at least annually in the future and covers a 12 month period spanning from 1 April 2013 to 31 March 2014, can be found at www.vodafone.com/sustainability/lawenforcement.

Google is another tech company that regularly discloses request for information from various governments worldwide.

Whether other global telecommunications companies, especially those operating across multiple continents (e.g. EE/Orange/T-Mobile or Telefonica/O2) will be following Vodafone's example remains to be seen.

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Editor, TechRadar Pro

Désiré (Twitter, Google+) has been musing and writing about technology since 1997. Following an eight-year stint at ITProPortal.com where he discovered the joys of global techfests, developing an uncanny attraction for anything silicon, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro.