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Vodafone's Unprecedented Report Reveals Extent of Gov't Snooping
Vodafone's Unprecedented Report Reveals Extent of Gov't Snooping

[URL=""]By Colin Daileda3 hours ago

Vodafone, one of the world's largest cellphone companies, published a report on Friday that revealed the scope of government snooping into phone networks around the world. One of the most notable revelations from Vodafone is the fact that authorities in some countries are able to directly access an operator's network.
The UK-based company outlined the details in its 88-page Law Enforcement Disclosure report (embedded in full below) that is described as the first of its kind, covering 29 countries in which it directly operates. The report is divided into sections according to country, covering Albania to the United Kingdom.
See also: The 10 Biggest Revelations From Edward Snowden's Leaks

In reference to metadata data about communication, such as phone call time, duration, location and destination the company pointed out that it's possible to "learn a great deal about an individual's movements, interests and relationships" from studying this information. Vodafone said Friday that in a small number of countries, authorities "must have direct access to an operator's network."
In a small number of countries, agencies and authorities have direct access to communications data stored within an operator's network. In those countries, Vodafone will not receive any form of demand for communications data access as the relevant agencies and authorities already have permanent access to customer communications via their own direct link.
The report notes that because the company must abide by the laws of the countries in which it operates, it must disclose the information that authorities request.
Our employees who live and work in the country concerned may also be at risk of criminal sanctions, including imprisonment. We therefore have to balance our responsibility to respect our customers' right to privacy against our legal obligation to respond to the authorities' lawful demands as well as our duty of care to our employees, recognising throughout our broader responsibilities as a corporate citizen to protect the public and prevent harm.
The findings will heap anxiety on civil rights advocates already alarmed by the revelations of former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, who revealed several top-secret programs the agency uses to collect information on everyone from American citizens to world leaders.
The country-by-country breakdown


"It is generally illegal under criminal law to intercept or record private communications except pursuant to a judicial warrant, but the Communications Law allows broad latitude to the armed forces and security agencies to obtain information pursuant to national security concerns, which are not defined."

"[Communication] interceptions are conducted under the authority and supervision of the investigating judge. …The decision [to investigate] does not bear the status of a judicial decision and is therefore not subject to appeal before any judge."

"[A] request for disclosure [of communication data]…does not require a prior judicial order. Where the request is not complied with, the public prosecutor's office (or, in relation to tax offenses, the tax authority) may initiate the formal seizure of the stored communication."

"There is no judicial oversight of the interception process."
South Africa

The South African government is not permitted to intercept communications of civilians unless there are "reasonable grounds to believe that a serious offense has been, is being or will probably be committed, or in order to gather information concerning an actual or potential threat to the public health or safety, national security or compelling national economic interests." The government does not have "special powers" to access a network operator's customer data on national security grounds.

"Under Article 3 (as amended on Feb. 6, 2014)…on the Regulation of Internet Publications and Prevention of Crime, Internet access providers must provide communications data requested by the telecommunications authority (TIB)." The telecom authority can only obtain data when a judge issues a court order in relation to the prosecution of a crime. The TIB's actions can also be nullified in court.
United Kingdom

The Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act "gives law enforcement agencies and a wide range of other public authorities the legal authority to acquire the metadata relating to customer communications. The powers require anyone who provides a telecommunications service to disclose customer metadata they possess or are capable of obtaining. The powers relate to traffic data, service use information and subscriber information, but not the content of the communications."
Additional reporting by The Associated Press.
Topics: edward snowden, Mobile, NSA, surveillance, US & World, vodafone, World
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