Vodafone confirms spying pipelines linked with mobile networks

6 Jun 2014

Vodafone, one of the world’s largest telecom providers, has confirmed that secret cables exist which connect to mobile networks which allow them to listen and record any conversation across 29 countries.

According to the Guardian, the company has reacted to increasing pressure from groups and individuals demanding that Vodafone be more open about government interference with their networks and whether anyone can be wire-tapped.

 In response, the company will today (Friday) be releasing a 40,000-word report entitled Law Enforcement Disclosure Report which will reveal the startling revelations that dozens of governments, including Ireland, have the ability to listen to, record and, in some cases, track the whereabouts of mobile phone users in that country through specially designed cabling connected to the main network.

Most worryingly, six countries that Vodafone operate in forces the company to install these wires into the system or if they won’t comply, the governments will do it themselves.

The company refused to name these countries as they feared that once they were named, their governments would undertake harsh reprisals on their employees there.

Worrying figures for Ireland

The figures for Ireland appear to show that in 2013, 4,124 requests for communications data was requested by the Government however, we are also noticeably the only country on the list who have refused to publish any further information on what other content was requested and intercepted.

Speaking to the Guardian, Gus Hosein, executive director of Privacy International said of the findings: “These are the nightmare scenarios that we were imagining.”

He further went on to say: “I never thought the telcos [telecommunications companies] would be so complicit. It’s a brave step by Vodafone and hopefully the other telcos will become more brave with disclosure, but what we need is for them to be braver about fighting back against the illegal requests and the laws themselves.”

Vodafone store image via Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic