How Many Countries Have Direct Access to All Phone Calls?
We don't know, but it's not zero.
Vodafone is one of the largest telecom companies in the world, with a strong presence in Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Here's what they told us today:
Vodafone said that it had received thousands of requests from 29 countries in the 12 months through March 31. But the report also said that governments in certain countries had direct access to its networks without having to use legal warrants.
In a “small number” of countries, Vodafone said in the report, the company “will not receive any form of demand for communications data access as the relevant agencies and authorities already have permanent access to customer communications via their own direct link.”
Vodafone wouldn't say which countries have this kind of unrestricted access, but the Guardian takes a guess here.