Friday 20 January 2017

Good call to reveal snooping by governments

Published 07/06/2014 | 02:30

Roaming charges are set to be abolished
Roaming charges are set to be abolished

Vodafone has given two fingers to some of the world's most secretive, spy-crazed countries. By publishing such a wide-ranging report on government requests to get its customers' communications, it has clearly indicated that it is not happy playing along as the trusty sidekick to governments' increased use of surveillance over citizens.

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In releasing its report, it is following the example set by internet companies who, cheesed off at having to spy on their own customers, have started to publish 'transparency reports' each year. It is to be hoped that Vodafone's Irish rivals, including Eircom, UPC and 3 Ireland, will follow suit.

However, there is a lingering question as to why the Department of Justice is staying so quiet on the issue of call and messaging interceptions. We know that there are rogue elements in Irish authorities willing to use and abuse surveillance capabilities against ordinary citizens. And such 'lawful interceptions' require a warrant anyway. So what does the Government have to lose by admitting how many times it accesses Vodafone's network to do its job?

A little more openness might go some way in reassuring law-abiding citizens that Irish authorities only tap our mobile phones and read our emails in very exceptional circumstances.

Irish Independent

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