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Suddeutsche reported that internal papers from GCHQ from 2009 showed the companies - some of which were given codenames - including Verizon Business (known as Dacron), BT (Remedy), and Vodafone Cable (Gerontic), as well as Global Crossing, Level 3, Viatel, and Interoute.
In the wake of the claims concerning telecoms companies, both BT and Vodafone said today that questions relating to national security were for governments, not telecommunications providers, and that they did disclose any customer data unless required to by law.
A Vodafone spokesman said: "Media reports on these matters have demonstrated a misunderstanding of the basic facts of European, German and UK legislation and of the legal obligations set out within every telecommunications operator's licence, in Germany and beyond.
Documents said to have been leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden apparently show that a number of telecoms companies allowed GCHQ access to undersea cables which carry their phone and internet traffic, allowing them to see details of customers' phone calls and email conversations.
Vodafone and BT, and US-based Verizon, were revealed by Germany's Suddeutsche newspaper which claimed to have details of a spy programme, codenamed Tempora, which allows GCHQ to tap into fibreoptic cables and store data.