OPINION

Tapping exposes state and security

Reports yesterday that the cell phones of Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis as well as top government ministers and security officials were tapped by unidentified individuals raises some crucial issues. At a press conference by three ministers held yesterday, the New Democracy government informed the public about the phone taps. It revealed that the administration was tipped off by Vodafone Greece. It explained the reasons why the state cannot possibly catch up with technological innovation in that sector. And it admitted that the investigation launched after officials were tipped off has failed to identify who was behind the operation. So the government does not know who has used the information gathered through those tapped phones or why. The misdemeanor charge has been leveled against «unknown persons.» The public are now painfully aware that someone can easily tap the mobile phones of the prime minister as well as his defense, interior, public order and justice ministers. That’s all very sad. To make matters worse, the government does not seem to take issue with the mobile phone operator through which the spy software was installed. Nor does it seem to take issue with the actions of Vodafone Greece CEO Giorgos Koronias, who informed the government about the eavesdropping – but only after he had deactivated the software code that would have allowed experts to reach the culprits. One is surprised not only by Koronias’s decision but also by the reaction of Public Order Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis, who yesterday praised the CEO’s «serious and responsible stand.» What we see is national security at the mercy of the powerful mobile telephony giants and the actions of senior multinational officials. At the same time, we see a weak government that shows inexplicable tolerance toward the people who bear a share of the responsibility for the damage to national security.