The European Parliament has adopted a report condemning Greek spyware abuses against journalists, politicians and businesspeople.
The European Parliament’s committee of inquiry to investigate the use of Pegasus and other surveillance software has adopted its final report and recommendations. The committee said the spyware had been used to violate fundamental rights and endanger democracy in several EU states, including Greece, Poland and Hungary.
MEPs said that Greek spyware abuses included “patterns suggesting that the Greek government enables the use of spyware against journalists, politicians and businesspersons, the export of spyware to countries with poor human rights records, and provides a training center for third country agents that want to familiarize themselves with spyware.”
The ongoing surveillance scandal in Greece first gained traction in the summer of 2022 when media revealed that Nikos Androulakis, head of the third-largest party in the Greek parliament PASOK-KINAL, nearly fell victim to Predator surveillance software, and was even bugged by Greek secret services (EYP).
In November 2021, Greek newspaper EFSYN also reported that journalist Stavros Malihoudis’s mobile phone was under surveillance by the EYP.
The New York Times went on to further expose Greek spyware abuses by revealing that the Greek government “admitted that it gave the company, Intellexa, licenses to sell Predator to at least one country with a history of repression, Madagascar.”
In its draft report, the European Parliament said the spyware, which was often used in addition to legal interception, was being used as a tool for control of threats to top political leadership in Greece.
Dutch MEP Sophie in ‘t Veld, the European Parliament’s lead investigator on the use of spyware, said she intended to pursue the investigation until justice was done.
“Not one victim of spyware abuse has been awarded justice. Not one government has really been held accountable,” in ‘t Veld said.
“The unimpeded use of commercial spyware without proper judicial oversight poses a threat to European democracy, as long as there is no accountability. Digital tools have empowered us all in various ways, but they have made governments far more powerful. We have to close that gap,” she continued.
Greek legal expert and member of the Hellenic League for Human Rights, Lefteris Papagiannakis, told reporters that the European Parliament report “confirms our many concerns about the rule of law issues in Greece, adding yet another troubling dimension.”
“The use of spyware in Greece is a huge issue, but the fact that the Greek government is involved is even more disturbing,” he continued.
Image via Pixabay