Soon afterwards the Snowden incident, a lot of information started slipping through the cracks. Different agencies are allegedly deploying their spies in public sector to keep an eye out for our security and protection. Yeah, right… it is invasion of our privacy without our consent or whatsoever.
Government operatives allegedly working in Vodafone offices:
According to the information revealed in Law Enforcement Disclosure Report, government “operatives” are working in Vodafone exchanges to keep tabs on subscribers’ activities. Vodafone happens to be one of the largest telecommunications network in the world, which is why the company representatives admitted to numerous attempts made by government operatives for information retrieval.
They want the details about your communication, whether you are directly or indirectly related to Vodafone services. The question is how wide is the spectrum of Vodafone services and in which parts of the world?
To give you an idea, Vodafone is roughly active in 29 countries of the world through various ventures. Fiji, Australia and Kenya are on top of the list, while other carriers such as Verizon and AT&T have also admitted that they were approached by government “operatives” on similar terms.
As mentioned earlier, these surveillance programs have been under fire ever since the NSA/ Snowden incidence turned into a viral sensation. Edward Snowden, now the former NSA operative, exiled in Russia, has leaked huge amount of NSA data that was, in his opinion, an invasion of privacy without people’s consent.
According to Vodafone representatives, the mode of surveillance is categorized as “lawful surveillance.” It is when whereabouts of a person, access to his/her conversation, access to SMS threads, cell locations and such other details is done for the sake of national security.
It also seems that Vodafone had no choice but to give into government requests. Had they denied cooperation, then Vodafone’s future would have been like that of Blackberry. They didn’t allow the U.S. government access to the offshore servers and vice versa, so the Pentagon started making up stories about Blackberry, and eventually terminated the contract.
As for Vodafone, the company representative recently said, “Refusal to comply with a country’s laws is not an option. If we do not comply with a lawful demand (such as the one explained earlier in this article) for assistance, governments can remove our license to operate. Eventually we won’t be able to serve our customers.”
In response to this statement, Jim Killock; Open Rights Group mocked the entire telecommunication community by saying, “This is an excellent report. We need every telecoms company to tell us what they are being made to do by the government, so that we can have a proper debate about the scale of state surveillance.
The report also shows why we need to reform the UK’s medieval system that allows government ministers to sign off warrants. It is impractical for Teresa May and William Hague to make judgments about the validity of requests to access private data; we need proper judicial oversight that is considered, transparent and accountable.“