Confirms ’emergency powers’ used to rally Mubarak supporters
Vodafone has confirmed the government in Egypt used its emergency powers to force the mobile operator to send text messages during the current unrest in the country.
Following the increasingly violent anti-government protests in Egypt the authorities there ordered all mobile operators to suspend services on January 28. Vodafone said it had restored voice services the next day and data services a couple of days after that.
Now however the operator has confirmed the Egyptian government used emergency powers to instruct Vodafone and other firms to send messages.
"Under the emergency powers provisions of the Telecoms Act, the Egyptian authorities can instruct the mobile networks of Mobinil, Etisalat and Vodafone to send messages to the people of Egypt," the company said in a statement on its website.
"They have used this since the start of the protests. These messages are not scripted by any of the mobile network operators and we do not have the ability to respond to the authorities on their content."
"Vodafone Group has protested to the authorities that the current situation regarding these messages is unacceptable. We have made clear that all messages should be transparent and clearly attributable to the originator," the statement concluded.
Reuters reports that one text message contained the location and timing of a demonstration in support of current president Hosni Mubarak.