Vodafone, the world’s second-largest mobile telecoms firm, has said that governments in some of the 29 countries in which it operates across the world use secret wires to listen to all conversations on its networks, The Guardian has reported. The company said wires had been connected directly to its network and those of other telecoms groups, allowing agencies to listen to or record live conversations and, in certain cases, track the whereabouts of a customer. In Albania, Egypt, Hungary, India, Malta, Qatar, Romania, South Africa and Turkey, it is unlawful to disclose any information related to wiretapping or interception of the content of phone calls and messages including whether such capabilities exist, Vodafone said. In about six of the countries in which Vodafone operates, the law either obliges telecoms operators to install direct access pipes, or allows governments to do so. The company has not named the countries involved because certain regimes could retaliate by imprisoning its staff.
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