Confirmation today there is cause for concern over phone and internet tapping by the regime leading up to the election.
Vodafone has admitted it has ‘secret wires that allow government agencies to listen to all conversations on its networks’, saying they are widely used in some of the 29 countries in which it operates ‘in Europe and beyond.’
Fiji is listed as one of those countries in a report by The Guardian newspaper, where Vodafone admits it allowed ‘state surveillance’ 760 times in Fiji in 2013.
Vodafone Fiji has denied as recently as April it even has the technology to allow phone and internet tapping.
Section 63 of the electoral decree prohibits people from communicating political messages by telephone, internet, email, social media or other electronic means 48 hours before polling opens and there is wide concern the regime will tap phones and monitor internet to prevent breaches.
Vodafone has previously denied it has the facilities to monitor calls and text messages, insisting it can only access phone records via police or court warrant.
It has also said there is no legislation in place which would allow for telecom operators to intercept text messages, phone calls or internet messages.
The Guardian newspaper report, however, says Vodafone has revealed ‘wires had been connected directly to its network and those of other telecoms groups, allowing agencies to listen to or record live conversations and, in certain cases, track the whereabouts of a customer.’
Concerns about phone and internet monitoring in FIji is not new. The subject has come up before on this blog, including revelations from former 3FIR commander, Roko Ului Mara, who says the regime started tapping phones in 2007.
Mara said both Connect and Vodafone do it, but Vodafone was the worst. Others have attested also that the regime uses experts from both India and China to spy on Fiji citizens, especially its critics. —–