I Law enforcement disclosure: legal annexe
Vodafone Law Enforcement Disclosure reportCountry-by-country legal annexe
TRANSPARENCY AND THE LAW
This annexe to Vodafone’s Law Enforcement Disclosure report seeks to highlight some of the most important legal powers available to government agencies and authorities seeking to access customer communications across the 29 countries of operation covered in this report. Whilst the legal powers summarised here form part of local legislation in each of those countries and can therefore be accessed by the public, in practice very few people are aware of these powers or understand the extent to which they enable agencies and authorities to compel operators to provide assistance of this nature.
Creation of this annexe
This annexe has been compiled by our legal counsel in each of our 29 countries of operation with support from the
international law rm, Hogan Lovells* and their network of local law rms. It contains advice on the meaning of some
of the most important laws that empower government agencies and authorities to demand access to customer communications. We have outlined some of the most common types of legal powers used to demand assistance from local licensed operators earlier in our Law Enforcement Disclosure
report. However, we have not covered other areas, such as the
many and varied ‘search and seizure’ powers, powers to block or take down content or the restriction of access to services.Compiling this annexe has proven to be a complex task.
Vodafone counsel and the external law rms supporting us
in this work have had a number of intense debates about the meaning and interpretation of some of the laws which govern disclosure of aggregated demand statistics. Laws are frequently vague or unclear and there is commonly a lack of judicial guidance in interpreting the law. Precise interpretation
is difcult, exacerbated further (as we highlight
this report) by signicant uncertainty on the part of some
governments themselves, when we have sought guidance.
In this annexe, we focus on the three categories of legal
power which account for the vast majority of all government agency and authority demands we receive and which are also of greatest interest in the context of the current public debate about government surveillance. Those categories are: lawful interception; access to communications data; and national security or emergency powers. An explanation of each of these three categories can be found earlier in
the report. Legal powers under those three categories are
specically relevant to our local licensed communications
operator businesses and can usually be found in telecommunications statutes or in the conditions of the licence issued by governments to operators.
Our contribution to the debate
We would emphasise that individual countries’ legislation will not always fall neatly under one of these three categories and this annexe therefore should not be read as a comprehensive guide to all potentially relevant aspects
of the law in any particular country. However, in seeking to
adopt a consistent approach across 29 countries, we hope that this section of the report will serve as a useful framework for further analysis in future. As part of our commitment to ensuring this important debate is fully informed, we are making this annexe available under a Creative Commons license and by doing so hope others will re-use and build upon this material to aid greater transparency in this area.
Vodafone are grateful to Hogan Lovells for its assistance in collating the legal
advice underpinning the law enforcement disclosure report and this the
country-by-country legal annexe. However, in doing so, Hogan Lovells has acted
solely as legal adviser to Vodafone. This report may not be relied upon as legal
advice by any other person, and neither Vodafone nor Hogan Lovells accept any responsibility or liability (whether arising in tort (including negligence), contract
or otherwise) to any other person in relation to this report or its contents or any reliance which any other person may place upon it.
CC BY-SA 4.0 (2014) by Vodafone Group Plc