Twitter Inc., LinkedIn Corp., AOL Inc., Google Inc., Apple Inc., Yahoo Inc., Facebook Inc. and Microsoft Corp. are pushing for tighter controls over electronic espionage in hopes of protecting their industry's livelihood. The companies are also encrypting emails and other personal information transmitted across their services to make the data more difficult if it's intercepted by government spies.
"Companies are recognizing they have a responsibility to disclose government access," said Daniel Castro, senior analyst for the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation in Washington. "This is new."
Vodafone's report is also seen as a response to the company's embarrassing role in the Egyptian protests that ousted Hosni Mubarak from power in 2011. As those protests raged, the government forced Vodafone to bombard its Egyptian subscribers with propaganda text messages. The company said it had no choice but to comply, but was severely criticized for its actions.