Deutsche Telekom reveals government snooping requests

In the wake of a far reaching report by Vodafone Group revealing the level of government snooping demanded in 29 countries the company holds an operating licence in, German carrier Deutsche Telekom has published figures on wiretapping in its domestic market.

The German operator said that “under specific circumstances” it is legally obligated to provide information to the security authorities and to enable interception measures and that in order to make this area of its activity more transparent it is now publishing the figures annually.

Vodafone’s revelations appear to be motivated by a desire to shift the suspicion back to the governments in question and Deutsche Telekom’s document uses similar language.

“Deutsche Telekom closely observes telecommunications secrecy and data privacy regulations, which are basic rights accorded to German citizens. Wherever the authorities encroach upon these rights with requests for interception activities and data, Deutsche Telekom makes sure that they are processed strictly in accordance with the law. In particular, this ensures that Deutsche Telekom only takes action when the necessary legal preconditions are met,” the company said.

The revelations by Vodafone earlier this week prompted Viviane Reding, Vice President of the European Commission and more recently champion of the ‘right to be forgotten’ to comment that one year after the Edward Snowden revelations, the report shows the scale of collection by Governments of data being held by private companies.

With its report covering requests made in 2013, Deutsche Telekom revealed that it had received request to intercept a total of 49,796 lines based on court orders that give evidence to the suspicion that the individual, either as a perpetrator or accessory, has already, will attempt, or has prepared to commit a serious criminal offence.

It also received requests for a total of 436,331 data traffic records, when it is deemed necessary to establish the facts or determine their whereabouts of a subscriber and requests for subscriber master data totalled 28,162. Finally it revealed requests in 946,641 cases for data on IP address owners.

“Deutsche Telekom does not respond to inquiries from authorities outside of Germany,” the company said.

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