India figures alongside 29 nations that sought access to Vodafone’s network to intercept calls, text messages and e-mails last year, the company has said in its Law Enforcement Disclosure report.
While the company has shared the number of interception requests made by the authorities in Australia, Britian, Germany and others, it does not mention the number of requests made by India as Indian laws do not allow disclosure of information on interception and communications data.
“Section 5 (2) of the Indian Telegraph Act 1885 – read with rule 419 (A) of Indian Telegraph (Amendment) Rules 2007 obliges telecommunications service providers to maintain extreme secrecy in matters concerning lawful interception. Further, under Rule 25(4) of the IT (Procedure and Safeguards for Interception, Monitoring and Decryption of Information) Rules, 2009 (Interception Rules) and Rule 11 of the IT (Procedure and Safeguards for Monitoring and Collecting Traffic Data or Information) Rules, 2009 (the ‘Traffic Data Rules’), ‘strict confidentiality shall be maintained’ in respect of directions for lawful interception, monitoring, decryption or collection of data traffic,” Vodafone said in the report.
These prohibitions extend to the very existence of such directions, and could therefore authorise the government to prevent the publication of aggregate data relating to the number of directions received by the licensee, the report added.
It had said that Britain had made 514,608 requests for details and 2,760 interceptions. Germany made 18,026 requests, with 23,687 interceptions in 2012, the last time data was given.
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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.