Vodafone has revealed that governments around the world have direct access to phone conversations and can record them or analyse them without warrants.
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Governments around the world have direct access to phone conversations of millions of their citizens with the help of secret wires that directly connect to phone networks, Vodafone disclosed today. The multinational telecom company that has operations in 29 countries including India, revealed that governments had direct access to the phone networks of multiple telcos and could even listen to and record live conversations, track down locations of users and seize data for analysis before its routed to the telecom operator. Vodafone will publish its first ever Law Enforcement Disclosure Report on Friday that is reported to be 40,000 words long and will be one of the most intensive looks at how governments around the world are snooping on their own people.
According to a news report by The Guardian, such direct access methods do not require a court issued warrant and the identities of the surveillance subjects aren't disclosed by the governments even to the telecom operators. Vodafone revealed that in six of the countries it operated in, governments could legally setup direct access pipes which could just be equipment placed inside a network operator's central data centre or any of its exchanges.
Vodafone has released initial data from its disclosure report but has blacked out information for certain countries including India, stating that "it is unlawful to publish aggregate statistics".
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