Karamanlis clampdown on telecoms

In an attempt to stem criticism about his government’s inactivity since the phone taps were discovered, Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis yesterday outlined broad measures he wants to introduce to protect phone privacy. «We will adopt stricter penalties, both for those involved in such crimes and for those who make use of the material gathered from this type of criminal activity,» Karamanlis said after meeting with telecoms and academic experts. The premier did not give any details about the legislation, which will be prepared with the help of the Communications Privacy Protection Authority (ADAE), the National Telecommunications Commission (EETT) and several law professors. Karamanlis pledged the government would get to the bottom of the phone tapping and hold to account those responsible, «whoever they may be.» The ruling conservatives have been criticized for not punishing Vodafone for allowing the privacy of its customers, including government officials, to be breached. Current laws allow telecoms operators to be fined up to 2 million euros and have their license temporarily suspended or permanently rescinded. Meanwhile, Themis Sofos, the lawyer representing the family of late Vodafone software engineer Costas Tsalikidis, yesterday provided the prosecutor investigating the technician’s alleged suicide with new evidence. Sofos informed Yiannis Diotis that it was previously thought that the last person Tsalikidis spoke to was his fiancee but phone records show that he made one call and received a call after that conversation in the early hours of the morning on March 9 last year. The lawyer also supplied a list of 200 names and numbers that had been in Tsalikidis’s phone menu, asking that they be investigated. He informed Diotis that Tsalikidis’s family had asked the police on June 30 last year to look into the e-mails that the engineer had exchanged with colleagues at Vodafone. Sofos said it appears that this investigation was never conducted.

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