TeliaSonera latest to reveal authorities' communication-interception requests

TeliaSonera received 1,145 requests for lawful interception of subscribers' communications from Swedish authorities in the first half of 2014, over half the total number of requests received in the country in all of 2013.

In its first transparency report, the Sweden-headquartered operator revealed that in 2013 domestic authorities made 1,947 intercept requests and 1,996 requests for access to historical communications data. In the first half of 2014, TeliaSonera received 995 historical-data requests in Sweden.

Requests by Finnish authorities in 2013 stood at 3,570 for interception and 4,091 for historical data. First-half 2014 figures were 1,630 and 1,892, respectively.

TeliaSonera is the latest operator in Europe and the Nordics to release details of the number of requests it has received for access to customers' communications from government and security services. Vodafone and Deutsche Telekom released similar reports in June, with the former revealing data covering 29 of its key global markets, and the German incumbent announcing that it received nearly 50,000 phone-line-intercept requests in 2013.

Operators are responding to allegations made by Edward Snowden--a former U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) contractor--of widespread snooping by U.S. and U.K. authorities that included a claim that the mobile phone of German Chancellor Angela Merkel had been tapped.

As with the Vodafone and Deutsche Telekom reports, TeliaSonera was quick to state that it places a high priority on protecting personal subscriber data but also that it is obliged by law to respond to authorities' requests for access to that data on occasion.

The operators' first transparency report covers requests received throughout 2013 and in January to June 2014 by TeliaSonera's businesses in Finland and Sweden. TeliaSonera said that it will update the report twice a year and that it plans to add statistics from Denmark, Estonia, Nepal, Norway and Spain to its January 2015 edition.

For more:
- read TeliaSonera's transparency report

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