European Parliament spyware committee hears from Greek independent authority chiefs

European Parliament spyware committee hears from Greek independent authority chiefs

The Hellenic Data Protection Authority (HDPA) has identified at least 300 text messages containing spyware-infected links and sent to around 100 individuals, the head of the agency, Konstantinos Menoudakos, told PEGA, the European Parliament committee investigating the use of Predator and other surveillance spyware, on Tuesday.

Menoudakos said HDPA is still trying to identify the senders and recipients of the infected SMS messages as part of its ongoing investigation into the illegal surveillance of journalists, politicians, businesspeople and others. 

HDPA started investigating the company that sells the Predator spyware in Greece, Intellexa, as well as several mass messaging services in the wake of revelations last summer about a tapping attempt on the private telephone of European lawmaker and PASOK opposition chief Nikos Androulakis.

Speaking to the same committee on Tuesday, Christos Rammos, the president of the Hellenic Authority for Communication Security and Privacy (ADAE), defended his agency’s authority to investigate complaints of spyware abuses and said that it “continues [to work] in this direction.” 

Rammos was responding to a question concerning an opinion issued last month by a Supreme Court prosecutor arguing that under recent legislation ADEA cannot investigate telecom firms to find out who is under surveillance by the country’s intelligence agency.

The January 7 decision by the Supreme Court’s Isidoros Dogiakos is “respected but not binding,” Rammos said, adding that ADAE has received dozens of complaints about suspected surveillance attempts. 

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