Phone bugging case discussed in House

Transparency committee to hold closed-door meeting on hacking complaint by PASOK leader

Phone bugging case discussed in House

An extraordinary meeting of the Parliament’s Institutions and Transparency Committee will be convened on Friday to discuss the allegations made by socialist opposition PASOK-KINAL party leader Nikos Androulakis that an attempt was made to bug his mobile phone.

Androulakis, leader of Greece’s third-largest political party and a member of the European Parliament, lodged a complaint on Tuesday with senior court prosecutors after he discovered an attempt to tap his mobile phone using Predator spyware. He was informed of the bugging by a cybersecurity service provided by the European Parliament.

Both main opposition SYRIZA-Progressive Alliance and the PASOK-KINAL party demanded on Wednesday that the committee be immediately convened, calling the hacking attempt a “major ethical and political issue.” The proposal was also backed by the other opposition parties.

The meeting will be attended by the head of the National Intelligence Service (EYP), Panagiotis Kontoleon, and the president of the independent Hellenic Authority for Communication Security and Privacy (ADAE), Christos Rammos, who will give testimony, while the session will also be attended by State Minister Giorgos Gerapetritis and Digital Governance Minister Kyriakos Pierrakakis.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis had contacted Parliament Speaker Kostas Tasoulas in the wake of Androulakis’ complaint, asking for the meeting be convened as soon as possible. 

The government has stated that the aim is for the issue to be examined thoroughly and immediately so that no doubts or shadows are cast that would influence the political climate and public discourse. 

The reasoning behind the government’s sense of urgency is that only negative connotations could be created by a delay in convening the committee, which would give rise to criticism of indifference, at best, or even that it was somehow deliberately dragging its feet on the issue. 

Meanwhile on Thursday, SYRIZA’s parliamentary group submitted an amendment to a draft law of the Environment Ministry which is being debated in Parliament, aiming to restore the power of the authority for the safeguarding of communication privacy and to protect citizens against procedures for the lifting of confidentiality. 

Essentially, the amendment calls for the person that is being surveilled to be informed after the end of the monitoring by the competent authority, namely ADAE.

The opposition party believes that an amendment passed in 2021 that abolished the power of ADAE to notify the directly interested party of the lifting of confidentiality could be misused. In fact, SYRIZA officials have also derided PASOK-KINAL for backing said amendment.

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