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Well, who owns a multinational in this day and age?

Vodafone is nominally a UK company, but it has large interests in the US market and is quoted on the FTSE and NYSE.

I'm a bit tired, so maybe I am misreading it, but the operations seems to have been undertaken at a relatively local level. Bribing/blackmailing the 2 or 3 employees necessary to do this is within the ability of most foreign governments.

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Fri Feb 3rd, 2006 at 04:48:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It seems that it would take possibly more than a couple of employees. Vodafone is implying as much - although they would, wouldn't they. Apparently (and its all quite sketchy at the moment) the perpetrators used a "backdoor" that was not installed in the original system, because it wasn't part of the software Vodafone purchased (meaning that their supplier, Ericsson in this case, would have had to be involved?) The set up was impressive though, they used 14 different "transmitter" phones with card-phone numbers in disuse by the original owners, which then passed the intercepted calls on to... somewhere. All the phones were in the vicinity of the antennas shown on the map. Frankly the technical part of the story isn't quite clear... But the suicide of the Vodafone technician seems more and more suspect as the press starts asking questions. He was, it seems quite likely, part of the team that discovered the leak.

Also I can't think of many foreign governments with interests broad enough to be concerned about government figures, military officials, journalists, Arab businessmen, anarchists and human rights groups. Actually I can think of one (OK maybe two).

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake

by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Fri Feb 3rd, 2006 at 06:14:44 PM EST
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Oh, I am certain that an examination of the list of those spied on can give good clues to the country behind the spying. I suspect we all suspect the same suspect, to be Rumsfeldian in phrasing.

But, I don't know if we have enough detail to say whether this is corruption of Vodafone at a low or a high level. As you say it's not a completely simple operation, but having worked in a large telco, it doesn't sound to me that hard to do either.

This is not to say that Vodafone is innocent, but just to remind us that if it is low level stuff then it can (and will) be done at any company, not just "cooperative" ones.

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Fri Feb 3rd, 2006 at 07:57:21 PM EST
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