Thursday 17 August 2017

Law Enforcement Disclosure Report

Vodafone Malta would like to clarify statements in the press regarding the Law Enforcement Disclosure Report published by Vodafone Group.

Reports in the Media calling ‘Malta one of the most spied on nations in Europe’ based upon an article carried in the UK’s Guardian newspaper[1] (please see link below) are misleading and do not represent the full picture of the report published by Vodafone.  It attempts to compare statistics which are by their nature non-comparable due to the different legal systems and requirements across countries in which Vodafone operates.  Vodafone’s report clearly outlines this fact.

Vodafone Malta works within the Maltese legal system which obliges ALL mobile operators in the same way.

1)      Vodafone provides this information to law enforcement agencies upon receiving a written demand from the law enforcement agencies to this effect and is legally obliged to do so, as are all operators.

2)      In this regard the Report is split into two:

–          The 3,773 requests shown in the table refer to the formal demands made by law enforcement agencies to Vodafone as part of ongoing police investigations. These relate to crimes such as theft of phones which are most, anonymous calls, homicides and other criminal investigations.  In the large majority of cases demands received by law enforcement agencies are in response to reports initiated by the public; and

–          Legal interception, which is not done by Vodafone or by any operator for that matter. In fact this is not factored in the aggregate figure of 3,773 above, which only reflect the total amount of requests Vodafone has received from law enforcement agencies throughout the past year,  in line with the legal obligations. Legal interception is separate and carried out in accordance with the law.

The Context of Vodafone’s Report

Vodafone’s ‘Law Enforcement Disclosure Report’[2] (please see link below) published by Vodafone Group today is an exercise carried out by Vodafone to live up to its privacy commitments which include transparency with its customers and their right to privacy which is a human right enshrined in the International Covenant.  These are the principles by which we run our company and to which all our employees are obliged to comply.

The motivation for the publication of this report came in the wake of the revelations by Edward Snowden last year to the day regarding Government surveillance and intelligence harvesting by Government security agencies.  As a result operators such as Vodafone have been questioned as to their role in such activities.  This report seeks to inform customers as to what is legally required by Vodafone around the world.  Comparisons of data provided from different Vodafone operators is futile due to the different legal requirements from country to country.



[1]http://www.theguardian.com/business/2014/jun/06/vodafone-reveals-secret-wires-allowing-state-surveillance

[2]http://www.vodafone.com/content/sustainabilityreport/2014/index/operating_responsibly/privacy_and_security/law_enforcement.html

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