Monday, March 2, 2015
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Cellphone operator reveals scale of gov’t snooping

By
From page B6 | June 07, 2014 |

LONDON — Government snooping into phone networks is extensive worldwide, one of the world’s largest cellphone companies revealed Friday, saying that several countries demand direct access to its networks without warrant or prior notice.

The detailed report from Vodafone, which covers the 29 countries in which it operates in Europe, Africa and Asia, provides the most comprehensive look to date at how governments monitor mobile phone communications. It amounts to a call for a debate on the issue as businesses increasingly worry about being seen as worthy of trust.

The most explosive revelation was that in six countries, authorities require immediate access to an operator’s network — bypassing legal niceties like warrants. It did not name the countries for legal reasons and to safeguard employees working there.

“In those countries, Vodafone will not receive any form of demand for lawful interception access as the relevant agencies and authorities already have permanent access to customer communications via their own direct link,” the report said.

Vodafone’s report comes one year after former NSA systems analyst Edward Snowden revealed that U.S. and other countries’ intelligence agencies routinely gathered huge amounts of private data belonging to millions of innocent people in America and across the globe.

The revelations have focused particular attention on the role of Western technology and telecommunications firms, which stand accused of facilitating the mass surveillance by giving spies unrestricted access to their networks. Several Silicon Valley companies have since attempted to restore consumers’ trust by publishing data on government surveillance.

But telecoms companies found themselves in an even more uncomfortable position. Historically closer to governments since many were once state-owned, telecoms companies are much more heavily regulated and have employees on the ground — making them more sensitive to government demands for data.

By making its report public, together with a breakdown on requests for information, Vodafone took the unusual step of entering the international debate about balancing the rights of privacy against security. Rather than being stuck with responsibility and consumer backlash when consumers realize their data has been scooped up without their knowledge, companies like Vodafone have decided it is time to push for a debate.

“Companies are recognizing they have a responsibility to disclose government access,” Daniel Castro, senior analyst for the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation in Washington, D.C. “This is new.”

The study comes at a time when other businesses are also calling for a revamp of laws too outdated to stand up to the quickly changing telecommunications universe.

Executives in Silicon Valley, for example, have stepped up pressure on President Barack Obama to curb the U.S. government surveillance programs that collect information off the Internet.

Twitter Inc., LinkedIn Corp., AOL Inc., Google Inc., Apple Inc., Yahoo Inc., Facebook Inc. and Microsoft Corp. are pushing for tighter controls over electronic espionage — fearing that eavesdropping threatens the technology industry’s financial livelihood.

“They want their customers to be able to trust them to store their data in a private and secure manner,” Castro said.

Vodafone’s report is also seen by some as an effort to turn the page on the company’s embarrassing role in the protests that toppled Egyptian strongman Hosni Mubarak in 2011. As the protests raged, Vodafone bombarded its Egyptian subscribers with pro-government text messages. At the time, the company said it had no choice but to comply, but was severely criticized for its actions. A change in culture followed.

“They took a hard lesson there,” said Cynthia Wong, a senior internet researcher at Human Rights Watch. “Even if the government is the ultimate problem, they realized they needed to take steps to mitigate harm to their users.”

Civil rights advocates applauded Vodafone for releasing the report, and cracking open the debate, even as they expressed alarm at the infringements into civil rights.

“For governments to access phone calls at the flick of a switch is unprecedented and terrifying,” said Shami Chakrabarti, director of the human rights group Liberty, adding that the Snowden revelations showed the Internet was already being treated as “fair game.”

“Bluster that all is well is wearing pretty thin – our analogue laws need a digital overhaul,” she said.

Though some of the governments included in the report were able to block disclosure of any aspect of how interception was conducted, the report is unique in that it offers insight into how governments conduct surveillance.

Though some of the U.S. operators, such as AT&T and Verizon offered information amid the Snowden allegations, the level of detail is minuscule compared with Friday’s report, Wong said.

Civil rights advocates weren’t the only ones applauding Vodafone’s actions. Norway’s Telenor Group, which also has operations across Eastern Europe and Asia, offered support, noting governments have the ultimate responsibility to act.

The countries included in the report are: Albania, Australia, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Congo, Egypt, Fiji, France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Hungary, India, Ireland, Italy, Kenya, Lesotho, Malta, Mozambique, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, South Africa, Spain, Tanzania, Turkey and the U.K.

 

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

Whiteside ready to take Travis school board seat

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
World War II spy shares tales of work behind enemy lines

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A1 | Gallery

I love to ‘read’ audiobooks

By Tony Wade | From Page: A2, 1 Comment

 
Council to hear budget scenarios

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3

 
Fairfield High School celebrates black history

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

Photos: Warm winter afternoon at Lagoon Valley Park

By Steve Reczkowski | From Page: A3, 4 Comments | Gallery

 
Free medical series targets senior health issues

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

Pena Adobe hosts natural dye-making presentation

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
PublicStuff, an online app, set for Fairfield

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3

 
Beginning gardening series starts in March

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

Literacy celebration returns this month

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
Photos: Vacaville 4-alarm house fire

By Steve Reczkowski | From Page: A4, 4 Comments | Gallery

 
IHOP takes part in National Pancake Day

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4, 4 Comments

Local governments schedule meetings this week

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
Weather for Monday, March 2, 2015

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B10

Corner Store Gallery schedules open house

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

 
.

US / World

Kerry tries to dampen fuss over Israeli PM’s speech

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Hundreds of bills introduced by California lawmakers

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 1 Comment

 
Storm brings rain, thunder, hail to Southern California

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

California GOP recognizes gay faction of party

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4, 6 Comments

 
 
Newspaper: Nurse who survived Ebola says hospital failed her

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Myanmar captures rare white elephant in western jungles

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Crowd kills girl suspected to be suicide bomber in Nigeria

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

New plane tracking to be tested after Malaysia jet mystery

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Activists say Islamic State releases 19 Syrian Christians

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Sierra Leone’s vice president in quarantine for Ebola

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

30,000 marchers in Moscow mourn slain Putin foe

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Spacewalking astronauts finish extensive, tricky cable job

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

.

Opinion

Your right to work for less

By Mike Kirchubel | From Page: A8, 57 Comments

 
Right fight in DC, but wrong reason

By Colbert I. King | From Page: A8

Editorial Cartoon: March 2, 2015

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
A night with a King

By Delon Jackson | From Page: A8, 1 Comment

 
.

Living

Today in History: March 2, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: March 2, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Why timeouts only prolong the problem

By The Washington Post | From Page: B5, 1 Comment

 
Horoscopes: March 3, 2015

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B5

Horoscopes: March 2, 2015

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A7

 
It’s never a good idea to point out how big a pregnant woman is

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A7

.

Entertainment

 
Will Smith’s ‘Focus’ tops box office with $19.1 million

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

Lady Gaga, Vince Vaughn take charity polar plunge in Chicago

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
TVGrid March 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A10

TVGrid March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B11

 
.

Sports

Lillard, Aldridge lead Blazers past Kings for 3rd in a row

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Curry scores 37, leads Warriors from 26 down to beat Celtics

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Jimmie Johnson pulls away for another Atlanta Sprint Cup win

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Giants reliever Strickland insists he’s tranquil on mound

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Former Washington basketball star Christian Welp dies at 51

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Sharks trade Sheppard to Rangers for draft pick

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
4,000 attend Jerry Tarkanian tribute in Las Vegas arena

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Garnett buys 1,000 tickets for fans for next T-wolves game

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Poulter, Casey share lead at rain-delayed Honda Classic

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Blatter concerned by Russian soccer racism before World Cup

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Broadcasters propose FIFA election debate to Blatter, rivals

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Major league baseball’s 1st black Latino star Minoso dies

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Seller’s market for NHL teams as trade deadline nears

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Andy Sullivan wins Joburg Open for 2nd title this year

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
South Korea’s Amy Yang wins Honda LPGA Thailand

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Hannah hurls Bulldogs to 2-0 win over Campolindo

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B2

 
Oregon women upset No. 19 Stanford 62-55

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Indians open season with 12-4 win over Falcons

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B2, 1 Comment

 
Oregon beats Stanford 73-70, clinches bye in Pac-12 tourney

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Process gets underway to carve up $60 million Sandusky fine

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Cal’s big run lifts Bears past Oregon State 73-56

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
This date in sports history for March 2, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez nearing 1st spring game

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
Fast and furious: Rousey looks to future after 14-second win

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

.

Business

Samsung ditches plastic design, adds mobile pay in new phone

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
In Apple’s latest update, emojis get diverse

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Mimi’s adds breakfast items to menu

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

 
.

Obituaries

Lester Singer

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Jacqueline Mendes

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

.

Comics

Garfield March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Sally Forth March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Get Fuzzy March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Frank and Ernest March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Dilbert March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Beetle Bailey March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Blondie March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
For Better or Worse March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Wizard of Id March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Pickles March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Peanuts March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
B.C. March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Baby Blues March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Rose is Rose March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Baldo March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Zits March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Cryptoquote March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Word Sleuth March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Bridge March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Crossword March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Sudoku March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
For Better or Worse March 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Dilbert March 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Baldo March 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Zits March 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Rose is Rose March 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Pickles March 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Garfield March 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Get Fuzzy March 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Frank and Ernest March 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Blondie March 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Sally Forth March 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Wizard of Id March 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Baby Blues March 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

B.C. March 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Beetle Bailey March 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Peanuts March 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Sudoku March 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

Bridge March 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

 
Word Sleuth March 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

Crossword March 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

 
Cryptoquote March 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7