Vodafone to call for UK government to disclose requests for users' data

World third-largest mobile phone company wishes to follow example of US companies, publishing regular 'transparency reports' on data requests

Mobile operator Vodafone is following in the footsteps of US tech giants by asking the UK government to disclose the number of requests it receives for customers’ data.

Public trust in internet companies and telecoms has fallen after leaked documents provided by ex-NSA contractor Edward Snowden revealed the extent of government surveillance, and the degree to which large companies cooperate – willingly or not.

The move by the British company echoes a trend from American companies to publish regular 'transparency reports', detailing the number of requests they receive from law enforcement for users' data. Apple and Facebook have been among those companies publishign such reports.

Read more: NSA infiltrated more than 100,000 offline computers using covert devices, says leaks

“We want all of our customers worldwide to feel they are at liberty to communicate with each other as they see fit, we want our networks to be big and busy, and anything that inhibits people from communicating with each other is very bad for any commercial operator,” Vodafone’s privacy head, Stephen Deadman, told the Guardian.

Vodafone is the world’s third-largest mobile phone company and will also be petitioning the governments’ of each of the 25 countries it operates in to disclose data.

The company says it would like to disclose requests for wire taps and users’ data in its annual sustainability reported, due out in June, but that current British law prevents it from sharing even general information.

"Where governments do not and will not disclose, and it is lawful for us to do so, we will disclose our own total aggregate numbers of law-enforcement demands,” said Deadman. "Where it is not lawful for us to disclose we will say so and we will say what provisions of law apply."

Read more: Google, Facebook and Twitter among top tech firms calling for sweeping reforms to US surveillance

Currently, it is illegal to even discuss the existence of a warrant under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (Ripa), although some broad statistics are published from the office of the Interception of Communications Commissioner.

Figures from the office in 2012 showed increases across the board in data requests, with a 16 per cent increase from 2011 for metadata (up to 570,000)  and a 15 per cent increase for content interception (up to 3,370).

Reports from the Guardian suggest that Vodafone’s new provisions include clauses stating that they will “not allow access to customer data unless legally obliged to do so” and will “challenge requests in law where appropriate.”

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Recruitment Genius: IT Support Engineer - 1st Line

    £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT support organisation focuses on ...

    Ashdown Group: IT Support Analyst (Windows, Active Directory) - London £26k

    £26000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Technical Support Analyst / IT Support Analys...

    Ashdown Group: Part time Network Support Analyst / Windows Systems Administrat

    £30 per hour: Ashdown Group: An industry leading and well established business...

    Recruitment Genius: Ruby On Rails Developer

    £45000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

    Day In a Page

    In a world of Saudi bullying, right-wing Israeli ministers and the twilight of Obama, Iran is looking like a possible policeman of the Gulf

    Iran is shifting from pariah to possible future policeman of the Gulf

    Robert Fisk on our crisis with Iran
    The young are the new poor: A third of young people pushed into poverty

    The young are the new poor

    Sharp increase in the number of under-25s living in poverty
    Greens on the march: ‘We could be on the edge of something very big’

    Greens on the march

    ‘We could be on the edge of something very big’
    Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby - through the stories of his accusers

    Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby

    Through the stories of his accusers
    Why are words like 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?

    The Meaning of Mongol

    Why are the words 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?
    Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

    Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

    Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
    Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

    The last Christians in Iraq

    After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
    Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

    Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

    Britain braced for Black Friday
    Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

    From America's dad to date-rape drugs

    Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
    Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

    Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

    As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
    Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

    Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

    The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
    Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

    The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

    Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
    Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

    Flogging vlogging

    First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
    Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

    Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

    US channels wage comedy star wars
    When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

    When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

    When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible