NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Vodafone (VOD) was falling 4.2% to $38.25 at 12:27 p.m. on Monday amid reports that India's Union home ministry accused the telecommunications company of secretly sharing subscribers' data with Government Communication Headquarters (GCHQ), a British intelligence and security organization. Vodafone has denied the claim.
The Times of India reported the home ministry claims Vodafone provided GCHQ with "secret unlimited access to their network of under sea cables, which carry much of world's phone calls and Internet traffic," according to documents of the Internal Security Division. "GCHQ's mass tapping operations has been built up over the past five years by attaching intercept probes to the transatlantic cables where they land on British shores...Intercept partners are paid for logistical assistance."
The Union home ministry claimed that Vodafone and Verizon (VZ) "are learnt to be secretly collaborating with UK's GCHQ and passing on details of their customer phone calls, email messages and other communication and are intercept partners".
The Times of India reported that Vodafone, when reached for comment, said "no such concern has been raised with us by the Indian government. The Government of India's approval of our FDI application states that it was cleared by the FIPB and CCEA after all necessary due diligence". Vodafone also denied it had disclosed "any customer data in any jurisdiction unless, like any other operator, it is legally required to do so."