Governments use Vodafone to tap phones

VODAFONE yesterday revealed that government agencies in six unidentified countries use its network to listen to and record customers’ calls, showing the scale of telecom eavesdropping around the world.

The US and Britain both came in for global scrutiny after Edward Snowden, a former contractor with the US National Security Agency (NSA), disclosed their vast phone, email and internet surveillance operations.

But Vodafone, which has 400m customers in countries across Europe, Africa and Asia, said in its Disclosure Report on Friday that countries in its reach are using similar practices.

While most governments needed legal notices to tap into customers’ communications, there were six countries where that was not the case, it said.

Vodafone did not name the six for legal reasons. It added that in Albania, Egypt, Hungary, India, Malta, Qatar, Romania, South Africa and Turkey it could not disclose any information related to wiretapping or interception. The report showed that of the countries in which it operates, EU member Italy made the most requests for communication data.