Monday, June 9, 2014

Vodafone reveals secret wires allow governments to tap phone calls on its global network

Revealed ... customers phone calls are monitored by secret wires on the Vodafone network.
Revealed ... customers phone calls are monitored by secret wires on the Vodafone network. Source: AFP
GLOBAL telecommunications giant Vodafone admitted the existence of secret wires are allowing government agencies to listen in to conversations on its networks. 

The company said the tapping is widely used in some of the 29 countries in which it operates.

Revealing its cooperation with state agencies, Vodafone said in a 20-page report entitled “Law Enforcement Disclosure” that direct wires are connected to its network, allowing live conversations to be listened to and recorded.

The wires also allow agencies to verify the location of a user.

Vodafone admitted that as a global business it faced “constant tension” while enforcing the laws of different countries and the “expectations” of governments.

“Refusal to comply with a country’s laws is not an option,” it said.

Vodafone said that in about six countries where it operates, phone tapping is required by law, although it did not identify the countries.

Calls are tapped ... on the Vodafone global network.
Calls are tapped ... on the Vodafone global network. Source: AFP
Vodafone said it was publishing the information as its contribution to the debate on government surveillance systems.

“The need for governments to balance their duty to protect the state and its citizens against their duty to protect individual privacy is now the focus of a significant global public debate,” it said.

Privacy campaigners said Vodafone’s disclosure confirmed their worst fears.

Gus Hosein, executive director of Privacy International, said: “These are the nightmare scenarios that we were imagining.

He told the Guardian newspaper: “I never thought the telcos (telecommunications companies) would be so complicit.

“It’s a brave step by Vodafone (to admit it) and hopefully the other telcos will become more brave with disclosure, but what we need is for them to be braver about fighting back against the illegal requests and the laws themselves.” 6 June 2014

This news may be of significance to the 'average' lay person or for those who have little technical knowledge of the telecommunications industry.

Since the introduction of GSM (Global System for Mobile) communications, pre GPS (Global Positioning System) and 'smart phone' technology, user location was known to the 'authorities'.

Australia is a country that keeps user mobile telephone data stored at government locations.

Australian telecommunications companies also work together with AMDOCS, an Israeli company, with the telco's user data.

The standard 'terrorist' excuse is wearing a bit thin, whereas the hidden agenda is spying on the people, where the information collected is placed in ones 'file'.

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