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Vodafone releases transparency report

Vodafone releases a "transparency report", providing information on governmeent requests for user information in 29 countries.

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13 June 2014

Vodafone’s Transparency Report: Breaking New Ground in the ICT Sector

Author: Lucy Purdon, Institute for Human Rights and Business

Companies are taking these steps in response to rising disquiet among consumers and human rights groups about a lack of transparency in such decisions [to respond to government requests for user information]. Several telcos have released their transparency reports this year, including CREDO and Verizon (USA), Telstra (Australia), Rogers Communications Inc. and TekSavvy Solutions Inc. (Canada). Other companies in the broader ICT sector which regularly publish transparency reports include Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Yahoo!, Apple, Linkedin and Dropbox.

Vodafone’s report focuses on 29 countries where it directly controls operations (including joint ventures in Australia, Kenya and Fiji), and in which the company received a lawful demand for assistance from a law enforcement agency or government authority between 1 April 2013 and 31 March 2014...

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8 June 2014

Human rights – Our approach

Author: Vodafone

We recognise that Vodafone has a responsibility to respect human rights, as articulated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and align our approach with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. This responsibility is embodied in our Business Principles and our Code of Conduct...We worked with the sustainability organisation Business for Social Responsibility to conduct a gap analysis of our Group-level approach to human rights against the UN Guiding Principles. This identified the categories of human rights most relevant to Vodafone’s business as: labour rights; civil and political rights; rights of the child; economic, social and cultural rights; land and property acquisition; and the environment. Each of these categories is managed through well established policies and programmes, described in detail in the relevant sections of this report...In 2013/14, we further strengthened our human rights impact assessment process for potential new markets identified as high risk. The findings are considered in the decision-making process before entering a new market

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5 June 2014

Vodafone reveals existence of secret wires that allow state surveillance

Author: Guardian (UK)

Vodafone...has revealed the existence of secret wires that allow government agencies to listen to all conversations on its networks, saying they are widely used in some of the 29 countries in which it operates in Europe and beyond. The company has broken its silence on government surveillance in order to push back against the increasingly widespread use of phone and broadband networks to spy on citizens, and will publish its first Law Enforcement Disclosure Report...the most comprehensive survey yet of how governments monitor the conversations and whereabouts of their people..."These are the nightmare scenarios that we were imagining," said...Privacy International..."I never thought the telcos...would be so complicit. It's a brave step by Vodafone and hopefully the other telcos will become more brave with disclosure..." Vodafone...said:..."We are making a call to end direct access as a means of government agencies obtaining people's communication data....Vodafone is calling for all direct-access pipes to be disconnected, and for the laws that make them legal to be amended. [refers to Apple, Microsoft, Verizon, AT&T, Deutsche Telekom, Telstra]

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