Vodafone says some governments can eavesdrop on calls

Posted Jun 6, 2014

Vodafone, the second largest mobile phone company, said that some government agencies in a small number of countries in which it operates to have direct access to its network, which enables them to listen in to calls.

Ever since former U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden leaked documentation about the ability of the U.S. government to tap into calls and e-mail, security agencies around the world have been scrutinized for failing to disclose the extent of their surveillance.

Today Vodafone published a “Disclosure Report” that government agencies need legal notices to tap into customer communications in many of the countries that it operates in. However, there are some countries where this rule is not the case. Vodafone is not allowed to give a full picture of all the requests it receives because it is unlawful in several countries to disclose that information.

?In a small number of countries the law dictates that specific agencies and authorities must have direct access to an operator?s network, bypassing any form of operational control over lawful interception on the part of the operator,? said Vodafone.

In the documentation, Vodafone is calling on governments to change legislation so that eavesdropping can only take place based on legal grounds.