Managing government demands
Vodafone’s global business consists largely of a group of separate subsidiary companies, each of which operates under a local licence (or other authorisation) issued by the government of the country in which the subsidiary is located. Each of these subsidiary companies is therefore subject to the domestic laws of that country.
Ensuring that we have the correct policies, processes and controls in place is key to maintain public trust in our operations and that customers have the confidence that we respect their privacy and freedom of expression.
Each of our local operating companies is advised by senior legal counsel with the appropriate experience to ensure compliance with both the law and our own principles. Each demand is reviewed on a case by case basis.
Assessing our Impact
As a telecommunications operator, some of our most significant human rights impacts relate to our customers’ rights to privacy and freedom of expression. We therefore conduct regular assessments to mitigate risks.
We are active participants in the multi-stakeholder forums, the Global Network Initiative, GSMA, and the United Nations B-Tech Project, where we share learnings with peers, engage with civil society and keep pace with changes.
Our security colleagues have regular contact with the legal, security and regulatory teams in each of our markets to monitor local regulations and requirements and how these evolve over time. This is supplemented with weekly media and security intelligence briefings, monitoring the local context of where we operate.
Tracking and communicating
We provide a country by country insight into the nature of the local legal regimes governing law enforcement assistance. We also disclose the volume of each country’s agency and authority demands annually, wherever that information is available, and publication is not prohibited.
Access to Remedy
While governments are accountable for providing remedy when their demands impact the realisation of freedom of expression and privacy, we try and play our part by raising awareness and being transparent. Our collaboration with peers and civil society through organisations such as the GNI means we can collectively advocate.