Indian Govt Accuses Vodafone for Sharing Data with British Spy Agency
Home Ministry of India has directly accused Vodafone of sharing sensitive subscriber’s data with British security and intelligence agency, a charge denied by the company.
In an office memorandum of the internal security division of the Union Home Ministry, it was revealed that “GCHQ’s mass tapping operations has been built up over the past five years by attaching intercept probes to the transatlantic cables where they land on British shores. Intercept partners are paid for logistical assistance “.
It added that GCHQ was provided “secret unlimited access to their network of under sea cables, which carry much of world’s phone calls and Internet traffic”
Along with Vodafone, Home Ministry has also accused US based Verizon of sharing data with UK government. As per the note, Vodafone and Verizon “are learnt to be secretly collaborating with UK’s GCHQ and passing on details of their customer phone calls, email messages and other communication and are intercept partners”.
The Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) is a British intelligence agency responsible for providing signals intelligence (SIGINT) and information assurance to the British government and armed forces. It operates under the formal direction of the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC) alongside the Security Service (MI5), the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) and Defence Intelligence (DI). GCHQ is the responsibility of the UK Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, but it is not a part of the Foreign Office and its Director ranks as a Permanent Secretary. (source: Wikipedia)
Based on these inputs, Home Ministry had asked Department of Economic Affairs to stop issuing clearance to Vodafone for increasing their stake in India, as they are also involved in tax evasion case to the tune of Rs 11,200 crore. But the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) went ahead and gave clearance for increasing the foreign equity in Vodafone India Limited.
However, Vodafone has denied the charges and commented, “no such concern has been raised with us by the Indian government. The Government of India’s approval of our FDI application states that it was cleared by the FIPB and CCEA after all necessary due diligence.
In its reaction to , GCHQ said: “It is a long-standing policy that we do not comment on intelligence matters.”
Last year, Chinese telecom companies were accused of data theft from BSNL’s network in India, a charge denied by the concerned companies. It seems that spy agencies all over the world are targeting data related with Indian consumers and users, and there is nothing our government can do about it. Maybe globalization has its own side effects.
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