Updated: Vodafone demands phone surveillance data revealed by government

UPDATE 19/01/14: Vodafone has written to Home Secretary Theresa May and Justice Secretary Chris Grayling demanding that the UK government start publishing transparency reports detailing surveillance requests. The operator is understood to be taking a similar line in other countries where it operates.

Leading UK telecoms firm Vodafone has said that it is "shocked and surprised" that the NSA's controversial surveillance programme saw nearly 200 million text messages a day handed over to spies at Britain's GCHQ.

A spokesman for Vodafone told Channel 4 News that the company was deeply concerned by the latest revelations, the first public comments made by the mobile operator since the NSA scandal first broke in 2013.

"It's the first we've heard about it and naturally we're shocked and surprised," commented Stephen Deadman, group privacy officer and head of legal for privacy, security and content standards at Vodafone.

He added: "What you're describing sounds concerning to us because the regime that we are required to comply with is very clear and we will only disclose information to governments where we are legally compelled to do so, won't go beyond the law and comply with due process.

Vodafone's remarks follow the latest NSA leaks published by The Guardian.

Documents provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed that the NSA gave UK spooks a backdoor to spy on some 200 million texts a day as well as access to other personal information like credit card details.

The NSA has rebuked the allegations, denying that the data was harvested illegally and insisting it only ever "lawfully collected SMS data."

However, Vodafone's representative was far from convinced: "What you're describing is something that sounds as if that's been circumvented."

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