Cell Carrier: Governments Worldwide Hear Your Calls

Vodaphone said 6 countries grab content without even a warrant

By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff

Posted Jun 6, 2014 5:10 PM CDT | Updated Jun 6, 2014 6:10 PM CDT

(Newser) – The world's second-biggest telecom company released a report today saying that countries from Hungary to Fiji are accessing customer calls and texts with legal warrants, or just tapping in whenever they feel like it, the New York Times reports. Vodaphone—which left the US this year and is based in the UK—said in its 40,000-word report that 29 countries had issued thousands of requests for content and metadata. So which countries have a direct link? A Vodaphone rep said it was 6 countries but wouldn't name them, citing a possible risk to employees in those places, Bloomberg reports. Other details:

  • Vodaphone said government agencies should stop tapping directly into cellphone calls and text exchanges without a warrant.
  • The company, which has 400 million customers, called on all countries to publish the number of warrants they have issued. Based on Vodaphone's report, the Guardian published a table showing how countries monitor customers: Italy issued the most metadata warrants (605,601) and Spain the most content warrants (24,212), but most countries blocked such information by law or Vodaphone left it blank for other reasons (like those governments report such data themselves or Vodaphone can't uncover it).
  • Vodaphone's report is the most "comprehensive" survey yet of how governments monitor and eavesdrop on people, the Guardian notes.

  (Shutterstock)
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