NEWS

No one using a cell phone is safe from prying eyes

There is no shortage of parties interested in gaining information on an individual’s movements and preferences. There are advertisers and product dealers. An insurance company might want information on the speed at which two people were traveling during an accident, or an employer if an employee is really on a coffee break or sleeping on the job. The IT company that introduced the [email protected] service in Greece advertises its ability to monitor the productivity of its work force and the movement of the company trucks. Private investigators are being given still another method to stick their prying noses into our private affairs and government authorities (overt or covert) can closely follow the movements of suspects (or the unsuspecting). Communications researcher Marios Nottas warns: «Without overlooking the benefits of the ‘consensual’ application of these services, we do have an obligation to be skeptical and suspicious of them. The so-called ‘secret services,’ using the 9/11 tragedy as justification, rely heavily on communications technology to track the movements of both suspects and a large section of the broad American population. If you pay close attention to all the ‘signs’ (pressures for the accumulation of biometric data, insurance companies fretting over health funds’ databases, movements in European airlines) you will see that either through legal (with a court order) or illicit means, applications like location monitoring through mobile phones are, unfortunately, going to be commonplace in the very near future.» According to law 2774/1999, mobile telephony providers are allowed to keep records of the time users spend on their phones and the charges they pay only for billing. Furthermore, law 2472/1997 states that the use of sensitive personal data (by mobile phone companies as well) is permitted only under very specific circumstances, one of which is when such data is needed by a court of law. But who will assure us that Big Brother hasn’t found yet one more way to monitor us?