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Vodafone wants to blow a whistle on snooping demands

Yeah, some social responsibility
Thu Jan 16 2014, 16:37
Vodafone logo

FRIEND OF THE ACCOUNTANT Vodafone wants to do its bit for social responsibility and has come out with a stand against government communications practices.

An article at the Guardian has the firm swinging out to demand the rights to disclose and discuss when governments come looking for data in any of its locations.

"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, and anything that inhibits people from communicating with each other is very bad for any commercial operator," said Vodafone privacy chief Stephen Deadman to the Guardian.

"Where governments do not and will not disclose, and it is lawful for us to do so, we will disclose our own total aggregate numbers of law enforcement demands. Where it is not lawful for us to disclose we will say so and we will say what provisions of law apply."

Vodafone confirmed this policy to The INQUIRER in an email, saying that it will disclose its own numbers in a report this year.

"Vodafone believes that governments should disclose the number of warrants they issue relating to surveillance or interception. Where government does not or will not publish this data, we will disclose our own numbers where it is lawful for us to do so," it said in a statement.

"Where it is not lawful for us to disclose the number of warrants, we will say so, and say what provisions of law apply. Where the law is unclear, we will write to governments asking for clarity. We are in the process of assessing the data we are legally able to share across our markets and we are planning to share the first report later this year."

Vodafone operates in more than 20 countries so any report could be illuminating. Where transparency reports have been released in the past, by Google, Yahoo and Twitter, for example, their publishers have complained that they do not tell the full story thanks to the heavy restrictions imposed by national security agencies.

Deadman told the Guardian that he will write to the UK Home Secretary to discuss Vodafone's plans. µ


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