The British phone company Vodafone has revealed Friday that government agencies from various countries systematically spy phone conversations and even the location of its customers through secret cables connected to their mobile networks.
The report of Vodafone, some of whose conclusions have been published by the newspaper The Guardian, is a result of the impact caused by the revelations of the former employee of the CIA Edward Snowden and Report on Law Enforcement Disclosure. In several countries (Albania, Egypt, India, Malta, Qatar, Romania, South Africa and Turkey) is illegal to disclose any aspect of how to carry out interceptions.
The report explains that wires are secretly connected to its network and that of its competitors, giving government agencies the ability to tap phones and broadband traffic from the Internet. In many countries, those connections are required by law.
The 29 countries in which Vodafone operates have different legal ways to force the phone companies to cooperate with tracking and refuse to do so ” is not an option ” because they can withdraw licenses to operate within its borders.
“Those lines exist, the direct access model exists. We are calling for access by government agencies to obtain communications of people over, ” Vodafone chief privacy officer, Stephen Deadman told The Guardian. “Without an official warrant, there is no external visibility. If we receive a demand we can push back against the agency. The fact that a government has to issue a piece of paper is an important constraint on how powers are used” he adds.
“For governments to access phone calls at the flick of a switch is unprecedented and terrifying,” said the director of the Liberty organization that defends the right to privacy, Shami Chakrabarti.