India sought access to Vodafone network to intercept calls

India is among 29 nations that sought access to Vodafone`s network to intercept calls, text messages and e-mails last year, the UK-based group said.

New Delhi: India is among 29 nations that sought access to Vodafone`s network to intercept calls, text messages and e-mails last year, the UK-based group said.

The company, in its Law Enforcement Disclosure report, however, did not mention the number of requests made by India as Indian laws don`t allow disclosure of information on interception and communications data.

Vodafone did not say if it complied with the requests made by the Indian government.
"The report encompasses all 29 operating businesses directly controlled by Vodafone in which we have received a lawful demand for assistance from a law enforcement agency or government authority between 1 April 2013 and 31 March 2014," Vodafone said.

The Indian Telegraph Act, 1885, obliges telecom service providers to "maintain extreme secrecy" in matters concerning lawful interception.
In addition, the IT Act, 2000, and its associated rules allow the government to prevent publication of aggregate data in relation to lawful interception and other data disclosure demands from the government and law enforcement agencies.

The company said it has not included countries in which it operates where no such demands were received.

"We have focused on the two categories of law enforcement demands which account for the overwhelming majority of all such activity: lawful interception and access to communications data," the company said.

Vodafone said though it respects the right to privacy of every customer but it also has to abide by the laws of various countries which require it to disclose information about its customers to law enforcement agencies or other government authorities.

"If we do not comply with a lawful demand for assistance, governments can remove our licence to operate, preventing us from providing services to our customers," Vodafone said.

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