Vodafone in all their magnificence and gorgeosity have shocked the monkey and released a “Law Enforcement Disclosure Report” (here). At the request of little old Gardai.
Unfortunately they have upset the Department of Justice who are claiming that the information Vodafone released could ‘compromise national security and hinder investigation of serious criminal activity’.
The wonderful folk at Vodafone reveal in the report the surveillance practices of governments in 29 countries which it operates in, but stops short of disclosing details of data surveillance in Ireland.
One can only assume this is to thwart any recriminations, from spooks. Vodafone also point out in the release that reports from other operators can have inherent flaws…
“We have compared the statistical information we hold for our own operations in the two countries in question with the information recently published by other local operators in those countries. For some categories of agency and authority demand, the volumes involved seem closely comparable between Vodafone and other local operators, although as explained above, there is a significant risk of under or over-counting overlapping demands issued to multiple operators. Furthermore, it is also clear that certain categories of agency and authority demand have been omitted from local operators’ publications, either to comply with legal restrictions (in the case of Australia) or (in Germany) for reasons not disclosed to us.”
The Report chants the mantra “it is unlawful to disclose any information related to wiretapping or interception of the content of phone calls and messages including whether such capabilities exist.” but points that in 6 countries “authorities” have unfettered access and that the law either ‘obliges’ telecom operators to install direct access pipes, or allow governments to do so.
Vodafone further explain that these 6 un-named countries have “regimens” that could retaliate by imprisoning staff…who could that be? (read the .pdf)
However after reading through the lines and thinking about it for a few minutes…it’s not hard to narrow down the “6” countries. The graphic below from The Guardian’s Juliette Garside makes this a no brainer.
With all respect to the fantastic and marvellous work Law Enforcement do, it is important Telecommunication Companies are finally finding their own voice amongst the schrills and squawks that have become a hysterical mist of white noise…well done Vodafone.