Vodafone Seeking to Publish Government Wiretap Requests

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Vodafone says that it plans to contact the regulators and governments in the 25 countries it operates in to seek the public release of the wiretap requests it receives.

Like all regulated telecoms companies, it is required to permit legal wiretapping or provide location information about customers to the police or security services. Such requests are usually kept confidential though.

Vodafone is now seeking permission to publish, if not the details, at least the volumes of requests that it receives.

A number of internet companies such as Google now routinely publish how many censorship or related requests they get from governments. However, as they are generally unregulated in most countries, they can publish that data regardless of the government's opinion on the matter.

Telcos are would need permission, or face sanctions or even the loss of their operating license.

"We want all of our customers worldwide to feel they are at liberty to communicate with each other as they see fit. We want our networks to be big and busy withpeople who are confident they can communicate with each other freely; anything that inhibits that is very bad for any commercial operator," Vodafone's privacy head, Stephen Deadman told The Guardian newspaper.

In the UK, revealing details of government requests is punishable by up to 5 years in jail, although the regulator who oversees such issues does publish some broad statistics for the government as a whole.

On the web: The Guardian

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