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Vodafone Reveals Warrantless Wiretapping 73

Posted by Soulskill
from the confirming-expectations dept.
Charliemopps writes "According to Vodafone, multiple governments have installed equipment that collects data on its customers without a warrant. This includes metadata, location data, and voice. They say, "In a small number of countries, agencies and authorities have direct access to communications data stored within an operator’s network. In those countries, Vodafone will not receive any form of demand for communications data access as the relevant agencies and authorities already have permanent access to customer communications via their own direct link." It's a rather long, and very interesting report. Vodafone also criticized the transparency process: "In our view, it is governments – not communications operators – who hold the primary duty to provide greater transparency on the number of agency and authority demands issued to operators. We believe this for two reasons."'
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Vodafone Reveals Warrantless Wiretapping

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    From all the noise here, it seemed pretty clear that ONLY the NSA did this kind of stuff and not any other government in the world. Isn't that why we're all supposed to toe the "NSA is evil" line?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Exactly. The Western world is becoming more and more like Moa's China and the USSR. These western governments are perpetrating all the same crimes that we condemn all the banana republics for:

      1) Extrajudicial killings
      2) Massive surveillance
      3) Widespread censorship

      The list goes on. The West has no moral high ground anymore.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        The Western World is becoming like porcelain owned by an extinct flightless bird?

    • You're right that some people have a stick up their ass regarding the US government, and see conspiracy upon conspiracy in behaviors dominated by realpolitik thinking.

      The unique thing about the US is the 4th amendment that prohibits such behavior with only the most minimal of interpretation.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 06, 2014 @10:04AM (#47179051)

        Nah, the 4th amendment very clearly makes it blatantly illegal. They just redefined the meaning of "search" to mean something completely different. It now means when they attempt to use the data against you rather than when they actually gather it.

        You know, it's kind of like when you lose your keys. You don't "search" for them around the house. That would be silly. You're simply "acquiring" them. When you insert the key you already have into your door and turn it... THAT is searching! Or, how about a better example: when a policeman runs up to you, begins frisking you and stealing your possessions, without warrant or probable cause, again that's just "acquiring" your stuff. It's only after he's already conducted his sear--I mean, acquiring, that he can then get a warrant to search you.

        • The minimal interpretation required is that "persons, papers, and affects" would be extrapolated to phone calls if the tech had existed when it was written.

        • by symbolic (11752)

          Actually, I'm not so sure this is related to searching so much as the Third-Party Doctrine, which was created by the Supreme Court as part of a ruling in a drug case. It needs to be abolished. There is practically little we can do in our day-to-day lives that does not require interaction with a third party, and this will almost always leave some kind of data trail. Third party or not, the government should have no access to this information, and no reason to acquire it, unless a person is a legitimate suspe

        • The more we hear about surveillance the more I think about this quote from the 1995 movie "Heat":
          "Assume they got our phones, assume they got our houses, assume they got us, right here, right now as we sit, everything. Assume it all."
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Multiple counties doesnt mean the NSA is not evil. It just means NSA is not the only evil one. We are not supposed to toe any line, each of us can toe any line we choose too.

    • by Charliemopps (1157495) on Friday June 06, 2014 @10:05AM (#47179057)

      From all the noise here, it seemed pretty clear that ONLY the NSA did this kind of stuff and not any other government in the world. Isn't that why we're all supposed to toe the "NSA is evil" line?

      The government is like a child.

      I tell my 6yr old that throwing sticks at people is wrong.
      He says "Look! Philip, Lacey and Clancy are throwing sticks!"
      I tell him "I'm not their parent. I can't tell them what to do. I can only teach you what's right or wrong. It's not acceptable for my child to throw sticks. I'll talk to the other parents about their kids."

      I'm an US citizen. I can't vote the UK's government out of office. I'm in charge of my own government and it's NOT acceptable for them to do this.

      This story is about other countries. It's good to let the other parents know what their governments are up to so they can discipline them.

      It's not that hard of a concept. Perhaps you should read this? [images-amazon.com]
      It helped my kid.

      • by Totenglocke (1291680) on Friday June 06, 2014 @10:13AM (#47179129)

        I'm an US citizen....I'm in charge of my own government

        That's funny that you actually believe that voters get any say in these types of programs. The US government does whatever it wants without repercussions, regardless of which party is in power - and it's been that way for a long time. They only bother with elections to provide the illusion that you're in control in order to keep the populace pacified.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          That's a wonderful call to inaction you've got there. It would be a shame if you had to live with it.

          No, people need to get off their asses and actually do something. The government and politicians will listen eventually, and all it takes is a lot of letter-writing and actual voting. But if you sit back on your apathetic butt and complain that the system is rigged and do nothing but whine about it, yeah, it will continue to be ruled by the people who do vote and do communicate with their representatives.

          • It didn't say that people shouldn't do anything, I simply pointed out that voting doesn't accomplish anything - especially since incumbents almost always win. Writing letters and voting does nothing and never has - it takes making the government truly terrified of rebellion to inspire them to make changes...and the American people have lost the will to stand up for themselves.

            But if you sit back on your apathetic butt and complain that the system is rigged and do nothing but whine about it, yeah, it will continue to be ruled by the people who do vote and do communicate with their representatives.

            I do vote and write to representatives - I'm just not foolish enough to think it actually makes a difference.

            • by praxis (19962)

              I do vote and write to representatives - I'm just not foolish enough to think it actually makes a difference.

              If you believe voting is a no-op, then why do you expend the mental and physical energy to do so? That seems irrational.

              • Because it's at least trying to do something, even if you know it's a wasted effort.
                • by praxis (19962)

                  Because it's at least trying to do something, even if you know it's a wasted effort.

                  Sounds like you have some hope then, which is very different than truly believing voting is absolutely pointless.

          • by click2005 (921437) *

            The government and politicians will listen eventually, and all it takes is a lot of letter-writing and actual voting.

            That just shows how little you know about how government works. I suggest you watch if you want to learn the truth.
            http://www.ted.com/talks/lawre... [ted.com]

            Lawrence Lessig's SuperPACs might be the only thing that could actually change things and even that is a long shot.

        • We don't have control because people like you throw up your hands and say "There's nothing we can do! Big evil people are in control!"

          I can't say that I've never had that opinion. But I'll not my apathy ruin the world for my son. Whats wrong is wrong. My rage may amount to nothing, but at least I speak out. At the very least, in the future my son can look back and know that his father was not ok with this. I'll not vote for anyone that supports this sort of thing. I'll not remain friends with anyone that de

        • by Daetrin (576516)
          The voters have _all_ the say. The voters can elect whoever they want. The problem is not a lack of control, the problem is that about half the people abdicated their responsibility and control, a large percentage of the remainder do not actually study the issues in depth, and the remainder are too fractured in their opinions to agree on any one candidate or set of policies.

          If we could get everyone in the US to agree that NSA surveillance was bad, and then only support candidates who agreed with that posi
          • If we could get everyone in the US to agree that NSA surveillance was bad, and then only support candidates who agreed with that position, then we could end it about 5 minutes after the next election.

            No, it wouldn't end. Politicians LIE in order to get elected. Once they're in power, they don't give a damn about what you think. We've had countless politicians run on things like ending the wars and ending spying, yet do the exact opposite once they're in power.

            • by Daetrin (576516)
              So don't elect politicians. Pick a regular bunch of people who've never held office before. Get them to sign a binding contract that if they're elected they will disband the NSA. Then elect them. It's entirely possible. We have the _ability_ to do so. We just don't have the collective will and agreement to actually do it.
              • Problems with that - 1) Those "regular people" will never end up on the ballot due to the way the existing system works. 2) That contract won't hold up in court once they're in power (remember - the government makes the rules and can change them at any time without your consent).
                • by Daetrin (576516)
                  Your #1 is patently false, given the premises. If everyone agreed on a choice, they could elect anyone they want. Getting on the ballot is not as hard as you make it out, and in most places write-ins are possible anyways. Again, you're conflating the reality that many people are lazy and easily misled with the idea that the system can't work. The system _can_ work, it just doesn't because many people are lazy and easily misled, so they don't fight to find the best candidate and make sure that person gets on
                  • If everyone agreed on a choice, they could elect anyone they want

                    No, they can't because the existing political parties control who gets access to the ballot. Sure, you could try to do a write in campaign, but there's all sorts of legal loopholes to make that incredibly difficult. The existing system will not change that in order to make it easier for you to remove them, they are currently in fact making it harder for you to have any choice between the Republicans and Democrats. That's one issue that Republicans and Democrats are very bi-partisan on - doing everything

                    • by Daetrin (576516)

                      No, they can't because the existing political parties control who gets access to the ballot.

                      [Citation needed]

                      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B... [wikipedia.org]

                      I've only looked through the rules for about ten of the states, but so far it seems pretty damn easy to either get an independent on the ballot or get yourself declared as a major party and thus be on the ballot, assuming of course you've actually got enough people supporting you to actually have a chance of winning the election. (Generally it seems to require an indication of support of anywhere between 10,000 people and 20% of the registered voters.)

      • by poetmatt (793785)

        US citizens haven't been control of our government since around the 80s. For the most part we are ignored and stifled unless enough of us get together and coordinate which happens once in a blue moon. Don't believe that 1 incident per 1-5 years is equivalent to "citizens control the gov't", because it's corporations that do.

        • Do you mean the 1780s? The first thing the founders did when they established the US government was restrict who could vote to land-owning white males (the top 10%) and frequently had wealth requirements for public office so only the top 1% could be elected. The public has never controlled what the government does or how it does it.

          • Well the land-owning aspect actually has valid reasoning behind it - those who own property have a stake in the outcome, whereas those who have nothing to lose don't care about negative outcomes. See how those who make poor choices today consistently vote for a larger and more oppressive government to absolve them of responsibility for their choices / actions.
    • Other countries could very well be totalitarian states. Atleast we are not China, is not a point in favour of NSA.

    • by mrvan (973822)

      In those six countries, the direct tapping is a legal requirement. Vodafone said it isn't disclosing the names of those countries for fear of local sanction and retaliation by governments against its staff.

      In Albania, Egypt, Hungary, India, Malta, Qatar, Romania, South Africa and Turkey it is unlawful to disclose any information related to wiretapping or interception of the content of phone calls and messages, Vodafone said. Because of that restriction, Vodafone isn't disclosing any information about those countries.

      So, it is not a hard guess what countries they are talking about, i.e. 6 out of those 7...

      • In Albania, Egypt, Hungary, India, Malta, Qatar, Romania, South Africa and Turkey it is unlawful to disclose

        So, it is not a hard guess what countries they are talking about, i.e. 6 out of those 7...

        Six of those nine, you mean?

    • I know at least 1 more country where Vodafone operates (besides US), mandating "transparent access" to some government body.
    • Really? I was under the impression that the reason why we toe the "NSA is evil" line is because they have wanton disregard for the fundamental principles of government in addition to the gross incompetence in regards to internal security meaning that any malicious actor competent enough to infiltrate the NSA has access to tons of information on anybody on the planet. The impression that the NSA is the only country without warrantless wiretaps was never something I've heard claimed. In fact, I heard the o
  • Actually.... (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 06, 2014 @10:10AM (#47179101)

    .....this was always the case. When it came to national security, governments pretty much always did what they wanted.

    Case in point; Pre-2001, if the US wanted to spy on American citizens, all the did was ask Canada or Australia to tap them, then shared the information back to them in exchange for the same favor when those countries needed the same.

    2 things have now changed:

    #1 They do not bother pretending anymore.

    #2 We now have the ability to learn about it thanks to the internet (for now). Previously if a whistle blower wanted to leak this info, the gov could easily silence the mega media corps (also known as their propaganda departments).

  • How much of this has to be revealed before the general population in America cares enough to do something about it?

    As an American, I worry.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      As an American, you should know that Vodafone isn't an American company. It provides service in every habitable continent except North America.

      People need to stop thinking that this is an American-only problem.

    • How much of this has to be revealed before the general population in America cares enough to do something about it?

      As an American, I worry.

      Don't worry about everyone else. Worry about you. Do the right thing and you've done enough. If someone is dying of a heart attack and everyone's walking by, do you think to yourself "I wish someone that knew CPR would stop. I don't, so I'll just keep walking." ?!? No, stop, offer what aid you can. Scream for help. They will probably die anyway, but that doesn't excuse you from caring.

      The same goes for the NSA (and other governments agencies) Yell for help... for example I posted this to Slashdot, and I'm c

      • by praxis (19962)

        Apathy is the NSA's most powerful tool.

        That is the most important sentence I've read here. It also applies to more than just the NSA.

  • At your device, what else can you do?

    • At your device, what else can you do?

      Vote

    • by praxis (19962)

      You can vote in government elections, you can vote with your wallet by supporting business that better support privacy, you can vote with your wallet form opting out from business models that make privacy impossible and you can communicate your views to others.

      Democracy has always fared better when the public discourse was contributing. Businesses have always looked at their bottom lines first.

      For example, I have three options for an ISP: Comcast, the local Telco and an old-school ISP. I go with the old-sch

  • so even though we knew "The NSA Has Massive Database of American's Phone Calls" [usatoday.com] in **2006**

    and everyone else did it or worse

    yet this news arrives with a thud...

    • by no_go (96797)

      I would guess the "everyone" you are refering to is some subset of the countries on the report.

      If you look closely, you will see that some put some very stringent limitations on what info can be obtained, when can it be intercepted and by whom.
      And , gasp , some even report the number of intersections and requests.

      Not being a US citizen/resident, it's none of my bussiness what the NSA does in the US, but I do take offence at their actions abroad, specifficaly those that impact MY leaders, MY country and MY l

      • I would guess the "everyone" you are refering to is some subset of the countries on the report.

        "everyone" is every civil body politic, monarch, tribal chief, dictator, republic, or any other human organization at this level, ever in history

        maybe you're one of those stereotypical ignorant Europeans, but here in **AMERICA** we have mandatory History education.

        learn your history and stop being a hypocrite...you're proving the other commenter below right...you're just taking this chance to bash America

        if you wa

    • Yep. It's not really about the NSA or its activities. It's about hating on America. Nobody gives a shit if a dozen other countries do the exact same thing.

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