Vodafone Group Plc (VOD)’s sweeping disclosure of wiretapping on its network worldwide means technology and phone companies could follow by revealing how much access governments are seeking to phone calls, data and e-mails.
Deutsche Telekom AG, with 145 million wireless customers in Europe and the U.S., said it may increase disclosure after Vodafone last week released its law-enforcement transparency report, the most comprehensive by a global telecommunications carrier. Vodafone said 29 governments from Albania to the U.K. asked for access to its network or user data, with requests ranging from intercepting calls and messages to accessing data such as conversation and Web-browsing records.
The report underscores how the debate over personal data privacy has shifted one year after documents leaked by former U.S. National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden shed new light on the extent of government spying. While companies like Google Inc., Facebook Inc. and phone-service providers were long seen as being the primary culprits, Snowden’s revelations gave companies the ammunition for laying blame with governments.
“They want to put the onus back on the government and say: ‘It’s not us,’” said Chetan Sharma, an independent wireless ...