Press Release | 07 Jan 2016



In its submission published today, Vodafone reiterates that respect for its customers’ privacy is paramount but also recognises the importance of legitimate and lawfully authorised communications surveillance in supporting the efforts of law enforcement and intelligence agencies in tackling serious crime, terrorism and threats to national security. The company stresses that if these powers are introduced by Parliament then they must be exercised within a clear legal framework that is fit for purpose, workable and subject to the rule of law.

Vodafone also makes clear that a balance needs to be struck between protecting the UK from terrorists and criminals whilst ensuring the vast majority of law abiding members of society have the right for their private information to be protected.

In its submission, Vodafone urges the Committee to closely consider four key issues as part of its review. These are:

  • Communications data should be collected and provided to Law Enforcement agencies by those companies best placed to do so, whether they are based in the UK or not; in particular third party data, such as app-based messaging, should be retained by the provider of the service in question
  • Proposed powers to allow equipment interference (EI), in which service providers could be under secret obligations to operate a backdoor in the equipment or services provided to customers, need to be carefully scrutinised and, if approved by Parliament, subjected to the most rigorous oversight regime; and should never result in the overall security of a service providers network or products being diminished.
  • The current oversight regime must be reformed to create a new, strong, effective and independent single body. This body should be well resourced, cover all aspects of the legislation and be capable of proper liaison with other interested regulators; and
  • There must be full cost recovery for communication service providers because these activities are beyond normal business as usual activities and represent a cost to those businesses being asked to introduce them. It also acts as a restraint on the potential for excessive use of surveillance powers and contributes to accountability by ensuring that the financial impact of surveillance is apparent.

Vodafone’s submission can be viewed in full here.

Vodafone’s Law Enforcement Disclosure Report, which details Vodafone’s approach to responding to government demands for access to customer information along with a breakdown of the legal powers governments hold, can be found at

About Vodafone UK

Vodafone UK connects people, businesses and devices to help our customers benefit from digital innovation. Our services span mobile, fixed line connections, home and office broadband and the Internet of Things (IoT).

Having made the UK’s first mobile phone call and sent the first text message, Vodafone has a history as a tech pioneer. In 2018 we made the UK’s first live holographic call using 5G, and were first to start carrying live 5G traffic from a site in Salford, Greater Manchester. We now have 5G in more places than anyone else, with multiple locations now live across the UK and the rest of Europe.

Today we serve more than 18 million mobile and fixed line customers in the UK, with 4G network coverage at 99%.  Our customers voted us the UK’s Best Mobile Network at the 2018 Trusted Reviews Awards – for the second year in a row. To help deliver Gigabit UK, our full-fibre broadband roll-out programme now covers 15 UK towns and cities through partnerships with CityFibre and Openreach.

Connectivity is at the heart of what we do as it gives us a huge opportunity for good. We are using our network, products, talents and technology to help society prosper and respond to significant social and environmental issues.  Our free Digital Parenting magazine is helping families and schools across the UK to navigate the online world safely. Meanwhile, the Vodafone Foundation’s work with researchers at Imperial College is developing personalised cancer treatment using the processing power of smartphones.

We are part of Vodafone Group, one of the world’s largest technology communications companies, with mobile operations in 26 countries, partnerships with mobile networks in 55 more, and fixed broadband operations in 19 markets.  As of 30 September 2019, Vodafone Group had approximately 625 million mobile customers, 27 million fixed broadband customers, and 22 million TV customers – including all of the customers in Vodafone’s joint ventures and associates.

For more information about Vodafone UK, please visit:


Vodafone UK Media Relations

Telephone: +44 (0) 1635 693 693

Twitter: @VodafoneUKNews


Vodafone Limited

Registered Office: Vodafone House, The Connection, Newbury, Berkshire RG14 2FN

Registered in England No: 1471587