Vodafone admits handing data to Mubarak’s Police

by , under Blog

We have to expose the company for this:

Vodafone’s global head of content standards, Annie Mullins, told a Westminster eForum event on Wednesday that following food riots at Egyptian government-subsidized bakeries in March 2008, the Egyptian authorities demanded communications data from Vodafone to help identify rioters.
“We’ve had to hand over data on people in Egypt due to the food riots,” said Mullins. “Regulation can be a Trojan horse.”
Vodafone is not the first service provider to be forced to hand over customer data. In 2005, Yahoo gave Chinese authorities details which helped in the arrest and conviction of journalist Shi Tao.

Which riots happened in March 2008? The “food riots” Mullins is referring to are for sure the 6th and the 7th of April. There has to be a campaign against the company to expose these practices and find out more information about what happened. I’m honestly shocked how all parties involved in the surveillance, whether its Vodafone or the Egyptian Ministry of Telecommunication, are just too happy to go on the record stating publicly their crimes.

The surveillance is so systematic and rampant, that even Pope Shenouda had come out banning the Copts from confessing over the phone, coz “telephones may be tapped, and the confessions would be heard by State Security”!!

  1. arabist

    In the Middle East, generally speaking, all phones are tapped. Not necessarily that people are actively listening to everyone of course, but all the mobile networks of US-friendly countries are plugged into the US automated listening system, officially as part of counter-terrorism efforts. Besides, the Egyptian telecom law (of 2002 I believe) specifically obliges telecom operators to grant security full access (there was some effort by HR groups to bring attention to this, as I think the law does not provide for a warrant system – i.e. judicial oversight – for tapping phones, as in most countries).

    Bottom line: always assume your phone is tapped, your email is read, etc. There is no such thing as privacy unless you go out of your way to ensure it.

  2. Mostafa Hussein

    This is awful.

    I agree with the @arabist that all phones and unencrypted Internet communication is tapped and read. But since we have millions of net and mobile phone users I bet surveillance is resource intensive and takes a lot of time. They don’t stand a chance against the newer more instant forms of communications we can make use of.

    We are still ahead of the by a step or two.