The Hellenic Authority for Communication Security and Privacy (ADAE) has established a specific audit team to investigate telecommunication providers’ records over the lifting of privacy protections for four individuals in relation to a surveillance case.
ADAE will check the providers COSMOTE SA, OTE SA, VODAFONE SA, and WIND, “as well as any other provider of telecommunications services, in any region of Greece, as the need arises during the audit,” reads the decision.
The decision made by the ADAE was posted on Diavgeia, the Greek government’s Transparency Program initiative.
ADAE’s announcement comes amid the publishing of a report by Greek media outlets Reporters United and Efsyn, revealing obstruction by authorities with regards to a surveillance investigation.
The report shows that alleged obstruction by the Justice Minister Kostas Tsiaras and Minister of Digital Governance Kyriakos Pierrakakis has resulted in the National Intelligence Service and the Anti-Terrorism Service having to send telecommunications providers and the ADAE prosecutors’ provisions in paper form. As a result, processing and analyzing provisions has proved difficult and time consuming.
“The problem with this practice is that each provision only mentions the phone number of the monitored citizen, not their name. Many provisions even include more than one phone number that has been put under surveillance,” reads the report, “This makes it practically impossible for ADAE to control who is being monitored and who is not.”
According to reporters, providers are well aware of monitoring activities regarding their customers. This, then, raises questions about their involvement in monitoring politicians and other individuals in Greece over the past several years.
Writing for the Kathimerini newspaper, journalist Yiannis Souliotis said that ADAE had proceeded with an inspection of Cosmote’s facilities in December last year. As a result, a legal confrontation arose between ADAE, Cosmote and the prosecutor of the Supreme Court, Isidoros Dogiakos.
At the time, ADAE said the independent authority need not provide an opinion, and proceeded with the audit team and inspection.
According to the Kathimerini newspaper, ADAE found that the National Intelligence Service had lifted privacy protections off the phones of journalist Tasos Telloglou and independent MEP Giorgos Kyrtsos. It reportedly did so with the consent of prosecutor Vasiliki Vlachos.
The Greek government has not, so far, issued a denial or confirmation of monitoring activities related to Telloglou or Kirtsos.
The President of the Syriza party, Alexis Tsipras, previously requested access, via ADAE, to all provisions related to alleged wiretapping activities of political figures, judges, and officers.
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