Update: Vodafone published its first Law Enforcement Disclosure Report today revealing the extent to which government agencies are able to access data about its customers.
The carrier said select agencies and authorities in “a small number of countries” had direct access to its network, bypassing any controls it would have in place to protect the information of its customers. In these instances, Vodafone said it wouldn’t receive any notice because “the relevant agencies and authorities already have permanent access to customer communications via their own direct link.”
The company doesn’t name the countries where this activity was taking place, however. The 40,000 word report also includes a country-by-country breakdown of law enforcement assistance demands, although the data provided is fairly limited – in some markets Vodafone says it cannot legally disclose the information, while in others it doesn’t have the infrastructure to support lawful interceptions.
In a huge disclosure on the one-year anniversary of the Snowden leaks, telecom Vodafone admits that government agencies have installed wires in the company’s system that allow for listening to and tracking of customer calls.
The Guardian reports that the telecom, which operates in 29 countries, has admitted that some countries have literally tapped into the company’s mobile and landline system.
Because it’s unlawful in six of the countries that Vodafone operates to disclose that the government is accessing its system for the purpose of surveillance, Vodafone has not stated which countries have the wire taps. The company has also disclosed that other telcos are being monitored via the same system.
The telco is poised to release a Law Enforcement Disclosure Report on Friday. The report will detail how governments are monitoring the company’s customers.