Privacy agency ‘can’t be silent observer’

Privacy agency ‘can’t be silent observer’

At the center of the wiretapping case and with both sides of the political system trying to weaponize him, the chairman of the Authority for Communication Security and Privacy (ADAE), Christos Rammos, has been walking a careful tightrope, trying to balance the inviolability of communications on the one hand and the defense of national security on the other.

In an interview with Kathimerini, Rammos outlined the role and action of the communications authority and, despite being at the center of political controversy, appeared unfazed by the pressure, noting that fear is incompatible with democracy.

The authority cannot remain just an observer, he said, stressing that it has a duty to monitor issues and and take action ex officio.

“The law does not provide for preventive intervention by the judiciary in the action of the authority…. It is not conceivable that the authority’s powers can be exercised following a prior judgment by a judicial officer, he said.

ADAE he added, is the only public authority empowered by the Constitution (Article 19[2]) and the law to monitor compliance with legality in the area of the lifting of communications secrecy.

It can check after receiving a complaint, but also ex officio, files, data banks etc, including those of the National Intelligence Agency (EYP) and telecommunications service providers.

“All other authorities that exist to protect cybersecurity or cyber defense or protection against cybercrime do not have this power,” he said, noting that the law gives ADAE powers that it does not give to the judicial authorities either.

“It is therefore a fundamental duty of the Hellenic Republic, which is the only one that can legally enforce constitutional order in the area of lifting the confidentiality of communications, not to remain a silent observer of situations such as those we have been experiencing in recent months,” he said. 

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