& cplSiteName &

Coffee, Tea, or Network Security?

Patrick Donegan
1/27/2014
100%
0%

Amongst Europe's carriers, it's noticeable that the UK telcos are taking the lead in speaking out on the right balance between cooperating with government requests to monitor private communications and protecting customer privacy.

Is this because they're more worried than telcos in other countries that privacy concerns are dissuading users from consuming communications services?

Or are they perhaps more irritated than other telcos at the positive media coverage that the likes of Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) and Yahoo Inc. (Nasdaq: YHOO) are getting for their professed indignation at the unjustified violations (or is that allegedly unjustified violations?) of user privacy that appear to be commonplace?

Or maybe UK telcos have more to feel guilty about than telcos in other countries because of the British government's "special relationship" with the US in security-related matters?

Or are they just afraid that governments and users in other countries might think they've got more to feel guilty about because of that "special relationship"?

The reasons are debatable -- and we'll be debating them at a special breakfast briefing during Mobile World Congress -- but the facts speak for themselves.

Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD) has stated it will be requesting from the UK government, and the governments of each of the 25 countries in which it operates, the right to disclose the number of demands it receives for wiretapping and customer data. "We want all of our customers worldwide to feel they are at liberty to communicate with each other as they see fit," the operator's privacy head, Stephen Deadman, told The Guardian newspaper. "We want our networks to be big and busy with people who are confident they can communicate with each other freely; anything that inhibits that is very bad for any commercial operator," he added. (See Euronews: Vodafone Makes a Stand on Privacy.)

Vodafone would like to disclose surveillance requests in its annual sustainability report, due to be published in June.

Now, as reported on Light Reading, BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) CEO Gavin Patterson has publicly commented on the issues thrown open by the Snowden revelations, stating: "It's just too murky at the moment. It needs to be transparent and [there] needs to be clear guidelines about what's acceptable and what isn't," adding that the legislation has to "catch up" with the real world. (See Euronews: BT CEO Calls for Clarity on Data Security .)

Whatever is driving these UK telcos to start speaking out, BT and Vodafone are undoubtedly doing the entire telco community a substantial service. In recent months, trying to get carriers to respond as the Internet giants have done around the limits they want to see on government intrusion has been like trying to get blood out of a stone, mainly because the security traditions in which the carriers are so steeped demand -- that's right, demand! -- that they don't communicate publicly around the matter.

As well as other topical issues, such as the actual impact of mobile malware and DDoS attacks on the mobile network, this question of protecting customer information will be discussed at "Creating Trust in the Mobile Network," a breakfast event I am hosting during Mobile World Congress. The briefing, which will be held in Barcelona on Wednesday February 26, will feature guest speakers from Arbor Networks , Juniper Networks Inc. (NYSE: JNPR), Nokia Networks , and Cloudmark Inc. .

Those attending the event will also get a free copy of my new 50-page survey of mobile operators that focuses on the security threats causing them real problems -- and those that aren't.

Full marks to BT and Vodafone for being among the first to realize that the veil of silence around this issue is one that needs to be lifted. Telcos of the world should unite and speak up. You have much to lose, not least revenue and brand loyalty, if you don't.

— Patrick Donegan, Senior Analyst, Heavy Reading

  • Find out more about the "Creating Trust In the Mobile Network" breakfast briefing, including how to register, by clicking on this link.

    (1)  | 
    Comment  | 
    Print  | 
  • Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
    DanJones
    50%
    50%
    DanJones,
    User Rank: Blogger
    1/28/2014 | 11:45:41 AM
    Motivation?
    Maybe they have the most motivation, what with GCHQ right on their doorstep? :-)
    More Blogs from Heavy Lifting Analyst Notes
    The shift to application and network virtualization by operators and CSPs requires a new generation of multicore processors that are being introduced by many vendors.
    In the wake of a damaging cyber attack in 2015, Philip Clayson was tasked with creating a cyber breach remediation plan for over 600 applications across TalkTalk's consumer and enterprise divisions and to deal with the operator's 'tech debt.'
    It's still hard to say whether carrier SDN is really a success or a failure, but the needle is moving on SDN commercialization – albeit not as quickly as some might hope.
    The most recent Thought Leadership Council (TLC) survey finds that although most communications service providers (CSPs) prefer to have a solid plan in place before moving on a new market trend, it's not looking to be the same for automation, as most CSPs surveyed say they are moving forward without solid plans.
    Software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) is the primary focus for cable in 2018, with fierce competition across the market.
    Featured Video
    From The Founder
    Light Reading founder Steve Saunders grills Cisco's Roland Acra on how he's bringing automation to life inside the data center.
    Flash Poll
    Upcoming Live Events
    March 20-22, 2018, Denver Marriott Tech Center
    March 22, 2018, Denver, Colorado | Denver Marriott Tech Center
    March 28, 2018, Kansas City Convention Center
    April 4, 2018, The Westin Dallas Downtown, Dallas
    April 9, 2018, Las Vegas Convention Center
    May 14-16, 2018, Austin Convention Center
    May 14, 2018, Brazos Hall, Austin, Texas
    September 24-26, 2018, Westin Westminster, Denver
    October 9, 2018, The Westin Times Square, New York
    October 23, 2018, Georgia World Congress Centre, Atlanta, GA
    November 8, 2018, The Montcalm by Marble Arch, London
    November 15, 2018, The Westin Times Square, New York
    December 4-6, 2018, Lisbon, Portugal
    All Upcoming Live Events
    Hot Topics
    Federal Funds for Broadband? Unlikely
    Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 2/12/2018
    Has Europe Switched to a Fiber Diet? Not Yet...
    Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-Chief, 2/15/2018
    Net Neutrality: States' Rights vs. the FCC
    Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 2/13/2018
    Will China React to Latest US Huawei, ZTE Slapdown?
    Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-Chief, 2/16/2018
    IBM, Microsoft Duke It Out Over Chief Diversity Hire
    Sarah Thomas, Director, Women in Comms, 2/15/2018
    Animals with Phones
    Live Digital Audio

    A CSP's digital transformation involves so much more than technology. Crucial – and often most challenging – is the cultural transformation that goes along with it. As Sigma's Chief Technology Officer, Catherine Michel has extensive experience with technology as she leads the company's entire product portfolio and strategy. But she's also no stranger to merging technology and culture, having taken a company — Tribold — from inception to acquisition (by Sigma in 2013), and she continues to advise service providers on how to drive their own transformations. This impressive female leader and vocal advocate for other women in the industry will join Women in Comms for a live radio show to discuss all things digital transformation, including the cultural transformation that goes along with it.

    Like Us on Facebook
    Twitter Feed