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Plans to bring mobile internet to remote areas of the UK for the first time have been announced by telecoms giant Vodafone. Plans to bring mobile internet to remote areas of the UK for the first time have been announced by telecoms giant Vodafone.
According to an Ofcom report, more than half the UK population use a mobile phone to access the internet, but pockets of the country still struggle with 3G or better coverage which is associated with good mobile internet access.
Jeroen Hoencamp, chief executive officer of Vodafone UK, said:
This is an opportunity for people to make a real difference to their community and to be part of our commitment to close the digital divide between rural and urban areas.
Bringing mobile coverage and mobile internet to rural areas gives communities a real boost - both economically and socially.
Human rights campaign group Liberty has described the findings of Vodafone's report into the extent of government phone-tapping as "terrifying".
Vodafone said some 29 countries in Europe and beyond use a "secret wires" system to monitor phone conversations and track users through their mobile phones.
Shami Chakrabarti, director of human rights campaign group Liberty, said: "For governments to access phone calls at the flick of a switch is unprecedented and terrifying.
In Albania, Egypt, Hungary, India, Malta, Qatar, Romania, South Africa and Turkey it is unlawful to disclose any information related to wiretapping or interception of the content of phone calls and messages, Vodafone said.
In six of the countries in which Vodafone operates, phone-tapping is actually a legal requirement. The phone company said it will not name the countries involved because "certain regimes could retaliate by imprisoning its staff," The Guardian reported.
Vodafone is calling for government agencies to have to gain warrants to carry out any surveillance, as it released a report that phone tapping is used by governments to snoop on their citizens.
Stephen Deadman, Vodafone's group privacy officer, told The Guardian:
We are making a call to end direct access as a means of government agencies obtaining people's communication data.
Without an official warrant, there is no external visibility. If we receive a demand we can push back against the agency.
The fact that a government has to issue a piece of paper is an important constraint on how powers are used.
...We need to debate how we are balancing the needs of law enforcement with the fundamental rights and freedoms of the citizens.
He said the use of direct-access pipes in the UK would be illegal because agencies have to obtain a warrant to get information.